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News That Affects You Archives for 2023-07

Michigan leading the country in clean energy, electric vehicle projects and jobs

In just under a year since the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, President Biden and Congressional Democrats’ clean energy plan has helped turbocharge our clean energy economy. Over the past year, clean energy businesses have announced or moved forward with more than 170,000 jobs across 44 states, according to Climate Power’s new report.

Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, Michigan is becoming a solar and electric vehicle manufacturing powerhouse. Michigan ranks #1 for new clean energy projects announced since the Inflation Reduction Act. Additionally, Michigan ranks #1 in the country for new EV projects and jobs. Across the state, new clean energy projects have already spurred more than $21.03 billion in investment, the 2nd highest in the nation, and created or moved forward with over 15,800 good-paying clean energy jobs, the 3rd highest in the nation. Last Thursday, Climate Power hosted a press call to highlight the progress the state has made in the past year.

“The clean energy plan championed by President Biden and congressional Democrats is bringing manufacturing jobs back to Michigan in a big way,” said Claire Moser, Climate Power’s Deputy Executive Director.  “The Inflation Reduction Act isn’t just adding jobs—it’s also saving consumers money on solar panels, electric vehicles, and energy-efficient appliances. And the IRA is broadly popular with Americans—despite the opposition of MAGA Republicans in Congress who want to send us back into our fossil fuel past. We won’t let them do that.”

“The impacts of climate change are here right now, so expanding our use of clean energy and reducing carbon pollution isn’t just something we should do. It’s something we must do,” said Lisa Wozniak, Executive Director, League of Conservation Voters Michigan. “Investing in clean energy means using fewer fossil fuels that pollute the air and water, which in turn means fewer health problems like asthma and heart disease that come from toxic pollution. The Inflation Reduction Act is a win for our environment and our economy, and I’m grateful for the gains it’s already bringing to our state.”

“Our Next Energy is investing $1.6 billion in a battery cell manufacturing plant in Van Buren Township that will bring thousands of  jobs to Michigan,” said Deeana Ahmed, Chief Strategy Officer, Our Next Energy. “Our innovations and the cost-savings measures in the Inflation Reduction Act are making EVs more accessible to everyday Michiganders. Clean energy is the path to a safer, healthier future—and there’s no time to waste.”

Thanks to the Biden Administration’s clean energy policies, communities across the country are becoming more resilient to the devastating impacts of climate change and our clean energy economy continues to add new employees to the workforce. Additionally, most of the clean energy projects and growth in the past year have occurred in congressional districts represented by Republicans. Thus far, 152 clean energy projects in 92 Republican held districts have moved forward with 96,216 new jobs, totaling $224.89 billion in investments.

The Inflation Reduction Act has touched Americans in every corner of the country, with rural towns, big cities, and every community in between reaping the benefits. The clean energy boom in America has only just begun.

Learn more about the clean energy boom in Michigan.

Heat Illness Program protects workers from indoor and outdoor heat hazards

The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) has renewed a State Emphasis Program to help employers identify and reduce exposures to indoor and outdoor heat-related hazards in the workplace.

“Our goal is to remind employers of their responsibility to provide workplaces free of known heat-related safety and health hazards and equip them with a plan to establish their own heat illness prevention procedures,” said MIOSHA Director Bart Pickelman. “Hot and humid conditions continue to pose serious risks to workers’ health, but these heat-related illnesses are preventable.”

MIOSHA first launched the State Emphasis Program for heat hazards in July 2022, in alignment with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration's introduction of a National Emphasis Program to prevent heat related illness on the job.

In the first year of the heat emphasis program, MIOSHA conducted 59 targeted heat related enforcement inspections and provided 179 compliance and education assistance visits to employers to raise heat illness awareness. This summer, MIOSHA will conduct programmed inspections at construction and landscaping sites to elevate their heat illness prevention programs. 

Every year, dozens of workers die and thousands more become ill while working in hot or humid conditions nationwide.  Heat-related illnesses range from heat rashes to heat cramps (prickly heat), heat exhaustion, heat syncope (fainting) and heat stroke, which is potentially deadly.

Employers are encouraged to utilize MIOSHA’s sample heat illness prevention plan, which can be used as a template to establish their own heat illness prevention procedures and reduce the risk of work-related heat illness among their employees. Workplaces can also access federal OSHA’s fact sheet to learn how to protect workers from the effects of heat.

MIOSHA designed the employer sample program for heat illness and prevention to address heat strain in outdoor and indoor environments. Employers are encouraged to evaluate conditions at their worksite while providing detailed procedures on how to prevent and treat heat illness, including:

  • Monitoring the heat index and what to do when the heat index equals or exceeds 90°F 
  • Provisioning water
  • Accessing cooling areas or shade
  • Building heat tolerance
  • Developing an emergency response plan
  • Handling a sick employee
  • Training for employees and supervisors

For help identifying heat-related hazards and preventing dangerous heat exposure, visit www.michigan.gov/heat.

Big Rapids Boys Soccer looking to "fill holes" and "compete early" in 2023 season

As the season is under a month away, the Cardinals will look to continue their reign of success with a little different outlook of a roster.

Big Rapids has fought through the largely populated CSAA tables and reached the conference tournament championship game every year since 2020. With a second-place finish last season, the team is eager to get back to that spot again this season.

While the team has had a deep core of three- and four-year players for many years, this year’s team will be dependent on the young players.

“We graduated a lot of guys and a lot of minutes last year,” Head coach Justin Fox said. “The main focus for the guys was to really figure out who they were as players on the team and come up with a team identity. I think we did that having those newer guys build (into) a bigger role.”

According to Coach Fox, the team will be especially seeking a step-up from their young defensive players, as they will be looking to fill three of four defensive starters and a new goalkeeper from the 2022 squad.

“Defensively, we're going to be growing,” Fox said. “I know it's not going to be perfect at the beginning (but) I'm looking forward to working with the guys and having them ‘gel’. On defense, communication, competence and decision making is key. We're really gonna be growing our communication in order to keep up with the teams that we'll be playing against this year.”

Last year, the Cardinals finished tied for first in regular season CSAA play with tournament champion Kent City and upset-minded Grant. Looking ahead to the fall season, Fox says he expects those two teams as well an improved Newaygo lineup to be in contention for the title with other teams trying to play spoiler throughout the season.

Along with a loaded conference schedule, Big Rapids will once again have a seemingly harder non-conference schedule against many playoff teams from a year ago.

“As far as non-conference (schedule), we start off strong with Whitehall. Then the Alma tournament, which is always tough because you play three games in a day. Our home opener is Elk Rapids, who is a northern Michigan powerhouse. It will be good for us to get started with some strong competition and force us to play well early on.”

The Cardinals will also host a pair of high-tier Division 4 opponents in Grand Rapids Northpointe Christian on Sept. 11 and Midland Calvary Baptist on Sept. 25. Northpointe has been a strong program in the OK Silver in recent years and Baptist reached the Regional semi-finals before falling to eventual state quarterfinalist Leland.

For more sports previews and coverage all season long, subscribe to the Big Rapids Daily News on WBRN.com.

West Michigan Senior Standouts To Represent National Champion Bulldogs At GLIAC Media Day

The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference will kick off the 2023 football season with an in-person media day in Grand Rapids on Monday (July 31) at the Sheraton Grand Rapids Airport Hotel with reigning back-to-back NCAA Division II National Champion Ferris State University set to take part.

The media day activities will include the release of the preseason coaches' poll, a live webstream, and various social media events.

Along with each GLIAC football coach, schools will bring two player representatives from each team. Players and coaches will be interviewed by the show host, Adam Jaska, that will be streamed live across the GLIAC's Youtube page. The stream is scheduled to begin at 12:50 p.m. (ET) with opening comments from GLIAC Commissioner Kris Dunbar.The Coaches and athletes will also be made available to media attending the event.

Ferris State will be represented by two-time National Coach of the Year Tony Annese, along with a pair of West Michigan and Grand Rapids area senior standouts in defensive end Ian Hall (Wyoming/Grandville) and wide receiver Xavier Wade (Holland/West Ottawa). The three Bulldogs are scheuduled to speak at 2:00 P.M. following opening comments from GLIAC Commissioner Kris Dunbar at 12:50 P.M. and the GLIAC Football Coaches' Poll Revealing at 1:00 P.M.

Ferris State fans can also follow all the live coverage from Grand Rapids with updates posted throughout the day at FerrisStateBulldogs.com along with FSU's various football and athletics social media platforms on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok and Threads. The GLIAC stream will also be available at the link below.

Live Webcast Link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKCg6-1G3hE

US-131 bridge repairs, deck sealing over 50 Mile Road in Wexford County begins July 31

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will be investing $229,000 to patch and epoxy seal the deck of the US-131 bridges over 50 Mile Road in Wexford County.

The anticipated start date of the project is Monday, July 31, and will last likely for a full month until Thursday, August 31.

Drivers should expect lane closures and traffic shifts. One lane will remain open in each direction. This work will improve the driving surface of the bridges and extend their service life.

 

Mecosta County Sheriff's Office: Weekday Blotter (7/24 - 7/27)

Monday, July 24

  • At 1650 hours, deputies made a traffic stop on 19 Mile Rd//Northland Dr in Green TWP. The male driver was arrested for possession of meth. He was lodged at the Mecosta County Jail.

  • At 2317 hours, deputies made a warrant arrest at a residence in  Wheatland Twp. A male subject was arrested on a warrant.

Calls for Service: 12

 

Tuesday, July 25

Calls for Service: 16

Car/Deer Accidents: 1

 

Wednesday, July 26

  • At 0221 hours, deputies responded to a domestic at a residence in Morton TWP. The female caller reported being assaulted by her husband. The male subject was located and arrested. He is lodged at the Mecosta County Jail.

Calls for Service: 12

 

Thursday, July 27

  • At around 0930 hours, deputies made a warrant arrest at a residence in Austin TWP. Two female were arrested on warrants. Both were lodged at the Mecosta County Jail.

  • At around 1100 hours, deputies made a warrant arrest at a residence in Aetna TWP. A male subject was arrested on a warrant. He was lodged at the Mecosta County Jail.

  • At around 1846 hours, deputies made a traffic stop on Northland/ 5 Mile Rd in Aetna TWP. The traffic stop resulted in a female passenger being arrested on a couple of warrants. She was lodged at the Mecosta County Jail.

Calls for Service: 12

Car/Deer Accidents: 3

Ferris State Hockey's 37th Annual Alumni Golf Outing Set For Aug. 5

The Ferris State University men's ice program will hold its 37th annual Bulldog Hockey Classic-Alumni Golf Outing on Saturday, Aug. 5, at FSU's Katke Golf Course in Big Rapids, Mich.

The outing, which serves as a major fundraiser for the Bulldog Hockey program, has sold out nearly every year for the past decade with a total of more than 40 teams and 170 golfers for the event in recent years on Katke Golf Course's 21-hole championship course at FSU. Recent years have also featured early sellouts with record-breaking crowds.

This year, yet another record number of golfers and former alumni are expected to attend with the event seeking another sellout.

"We're so appreciative to all the alumni, fans and Blueline Club members who help support this great event each and every year," said FSU head coach Bob Daniels. "This event has continued to grow and evolve over the years into what has become such an enjoyable weekend of activities. We're looking forward to welcoming everyone back again this year."

The cost for the 37th annual Bulldog Hockey Classic-Alumni Golf Outing is $125 per individual and will feature a four-person scramble format. The cost includes golf, cart, dinner and refreshments on the course. A wide variety of raffle prizes will be distributed to the outing's participants.

The FSU Hockey Classic-Alumni Golf Outing will once again be comprised of three divisions -- men's, women's, and mixed teams.

Additionally, for those interested, a special nine-hole shotgun start is available starting at 9 a.m. (ET) with lunch and dinner included in lieu of the afternoon scramble.

Entry deadline is Aug. 1 and checks should be made payable to Ferris State University. Entries should be mailed to the Ferris State Men's Ice Hockey Office per the attention of Drew Famulak at Ferris State University, Men's Ice Hockey Office, 210 Sports Drive, Big Rapids, MI. 49307-2741. Forms have recently been mailed to all past participants, alumni and supporters or are downloadable from the link above.

Along with the golf registration, those companies or former players wishing to help sponsor a hole can do so for only $100. For those not able to attend the outing, please consider joining the Blueline Club or sponsor a hole to help support the program.

More information on Katke Golf Course can be found at www.katkegolf.com. The Katke Golf Course is located in close proximity to the Holiday Inn Hotel and Conference Center and can be reached by calling (231) 591-3765.

For more information and/or questions pertaining to the 2023 Bulldog Hockey Classic-Alumni Golf Outing, please contact Ferris State Hockey Associate Head Coach Drew Famulak at (231) 591-2887 or via e-mail at famulakd@ferris.edu.

The Bulldogs, who have reached the NCAA Final Eight three times since 2012, will embark on their 49th campaign this coming fall and the third season of the rebirth of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA).

Since 2012, the Bulldogs have made three NCAA Tournament appearances and advanced to the NCAA Final Eight all three times. FSU has also won two conference regular-season championships along with capturing the WCHA's Broadmoor Trophy once as the league's Final Five Champion. Along with a Frozen Four berth and national title game showing in 2012, FSU also reached the regional final and the final eight of the NCAA Tournament in both 2014 and 2016.

The 37th Annual Bulldog Hockey Classic-Alumni Golf Outing Events Schedule:

Friday (Aug. 4)
7 p.m. -- Alumni vs. Police, Firefighters & First Responders - Charity Softball Game (Hemlock Park)
9 p.m. — Blueline Club Postgame Reception (Shooters)

Saturday (Aug. 5)
9 a.m. -- (9) hole shotgun option in place of afternoon (18) hole shotgun ($85)
10-11 a.m. -- Reception for past players/coaches at Ewigleben Ice Arena locker room
11 a.m. -- Registration at Katke Golf Course (on practice tee)
12 p.m. -- 18-hole Shotgun Start
6:30 p.m. -- Dinner, Awards & Raffle prizes

DHD#10 Hosts Ready, Set, Go! School Readiness Clinics

District Health Department #10 (DHD#10) is hosting Ready, Set, Go! School Readiness Clinics at their locations throughout the month of August. These school readiness clinics will have vision and hearing screenings, dental screenings, immunizations, and a chance to meet Spiderman and Elsa.

Any child or adolescent ages 3-19 that needs immunizations, or visual and hearing screenings, to attend school, preschool, or daycare are invited to register. Residents can register by calling 888-217-3904. 

The dates and addresses for the Ready, Set, Go! School Readiness Clinics are listed below:  

 

8/1, 10am-2pm 

Manistee County
385 3rd Street
Manistee, MI 49660 

 

8/2, 10am-2pm 

Mason County
916 Diana Street 

Ludington, MI 49431 

 

8/4, 12-3pm 

Lake County
5681 S. M-37 

Baldwin, MI 49304  

 

8/8, 9am-1pm 

Newaygo County
1049 E. Newell Street
White Cloud, MI 49349
  

 

8/10, 9am-12pm 

Missaukee County
6180 W. Sanborn Road Suite #1
Lake City, MI 49651  

 

8/11, 10am-2pm 

Kalkaska County
625 Courthouse Drive
Kalkaska, MI 49646 

 

8/15, 2-6pm 

Mecosta County
14485 Northland Drive
Big Rapids, MI 49307 

8/18, 12-4pm 

 

Wexford County
521 Cobb Street
Cadillac, MI 49601 

 

8/21, 1-4pm 

Oceana County
3986 N. Oceana Drive
Hart, MI 49420 

 

8/25, 12-3pm 

Crawford County
501 Norway St., Suite #1
Grayling, MI 49738  

 

Michigan law requires children to be up-to-date with required immunizations on or before the first day of school/childcare. A child who fails to meet this requirement will not be admitted to school/childcare.  

The Revised School Code (Act 451 of 1976, section 380.1177) requires that parents of children entering kindergarten present a statement to school officials confirming that they have received the Michigan Department of Community Health Vision Screening OR a statement, signed by a licensed eye care practitioner (optometrist or ophthalmologist) or medical/osteopathic physician, indicating that a child’s eyes have been examined at least once after age three and before initial school entry may also be presented.  

Michigan passed a law to give children the opportunity to receive a dental assessment prior to starting school, called the Michigan Kindergarten Oral Health Assessment Program (KOHA). Michigan KOHA helps ensure each student is healthy and ready for a successful school year. DHD#10 is providing NO COST oral health assessments for children. 

For more information on School Readiness, visit 
https://www.dhd10.org/parents-families/school-readiness/.  

Ferris State's Bradley Marek Signs AHL Contract With San Jose Barracuda

Ferris State University men's ice hockey forward and Big Rapids native Bradley Marek has signed an American Hockey League (AHL) contract for the 2023-24 season with the San Jose Barracuda, the top affiliate of the National Hockey League's (NHL) San Jose Sharks.

Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Marek, 22, who attended the Sharks 2023 Development Camp this summer, appeared in 36 games for the Bulldogs this past year, collecting 17 points on seven goals and 10 assists. Among Bulldog skaters, he ranked tied for first in power-play goals (3), third in points (18), tied for third in goals (8), and shots (67), and ranked fourth in assists (10).

"I am excited for Bradley and this new opportunity," said FSU head coach Bob Daniels. "He has worked extremely hard, and I am delighted for him and wish him the best moving forward.

"We are appreciative of his efforts the past two seasons to the Bulldog Hockey program," he added. "Obviously, the timing of this will present a challenge to his teammates and us as these will be tough skates to fill."

As a freshman in 2021-22, Marek was named CCHA Rookie of the Year after collecting 19 points (10 goals, nine assists) in 36 games.

Prior to his college career, the Big Rapids product spent parts of three seasons in the USHL with the Bloomington Thunder/Central Illinois Flying Aces, Youngstown Phantoms and Muskegon Lumberjacks. In addition, he appeared in 31 games with the NAHL's Springfield Jr. Blues in 2017-18.

Big Rapids Woman Wins $100,000 Powerball Prize from the Michigan Lottery

A Big Rapids woman had to log out and log back in to her Michigan Lottery account before she believed she won a $100,000 Powerball prize.

Polly Byers, 61, matched four white balls and the Powerball – 02-09-43-55-57, PB: 18 – in the July 15 drawing to win a $50,000 prize. Thanks to the Power Play, the prize was multiplied to $100,000. She bought her winning ticket online at MichiganLottery.com.

“I was on a weekend trip with some girlfriends and woke up early in the morning,” said Byers. “No one else was up, so I stayed in bed and checked my email and had an email from the Lottery saying I had won a prize. 

“Normally, the email says how much I won but this one didn’t have an amount. That’s when I logged in to my account and saw that I had won $100,000! I thought I might still be sleeping or dreaming, so I logged out of my account and logged back in, and the prize was still there! I must have checked my account 50 times throughout the day just to make sure I really won.”

Byers recently visited Lottery headquarters to claim her big prize. With her winnings, she plans to share with family, and save the remainder.

“My husband and I recently retired, so winning this means the world to us and gives us some financial security,” Byers said. 

Powerball plays may be purchased for $2 each at Lottery retailers across the state and online at MichiganLottery.com. A “Power Play” option that multiplies non-jackpot prizes by up to 10 times to a maximum of $2 million may be added to any Powerball play for only $1. For an additional $1 per play, Double Play may be added to a Powerball ticket, giving players a second chance to win up to $10 million in the nightly Double Play drawing.

The Powerball drawing takes place at 10:59 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday and may be watched live online at: http://www.powerball.com. Powerball tickets are sold in 45 states, Washington D.C., U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.

Ferris State University's Esports Arena, Michigan's First Purpose-Built Arena of its Kind, will Support Booming Esports Athletics and Career Programs

Ferris State University’s dedicated Esports Arena – the first purpose-built esports arena built in Michigan – is already attracting new students interested in competitive gaming, and the careers associated with the growing field.

The arena is the centerpiece of the new $32 million Center for Virtual Learning, which celebrates a grand opening on Thursday, Aug. 31 on the Big Rapids campus.

Esports Coordinator Jono Eaton said the state-of-the-art arena gives production teams enhanced opportunities to gather and present replays during competition and provides space for spectators accommodating 18 participating teams, consistent with the program’s growth goals.

“We will be able to show off our 74 varsity athletes, competing in national collegiate leagues in a manner that was impossible before,” Eaton said. “Our technical capabilities to support producers and directors who head up game broadcasts, along with ‘casters’ who describe the action, take a big leap forward, thanks to the design and outfitting of our arena.”

Esports, short for electronic sports, is a form of competition using video games, with participants squaring off as individuals or teams. More than 240 colleges and universities are fielding esports teams with more than 5,000 student-athletes, according to the National Association of Collegiate Esports, a Kansas City based nonprofit.

Ferris’ Esports program was organized in 2017, and Eaton said there has been steady growth to reach 500 club members. With the help of assistant Kyle Wilkowksi and a group of dedicated students, Ferris has pushed itself to the forefront of collegiate esports. He sees all aspects of participation continuing that trajectory as this new era begins.

“We had so many recruits who waited for the venue to be built and are coming to Ferris, that includes current online students switching over to study on campus,” said Eaton said, who serves on the NACE Competition Council. “Those learning in Esports Production understand how the arena will accentuate their studies.”

The university began its Bachelor of Science curriculum in Professional Esports Production in Fall 2022. Eaton said Adam Antor, a leading instructor and advocate for Esports on the regional and national scene, will join program chair Varun Singireddy.

“Adam has been a keynote speaker at collegiate esports conventions and chaired the Competition Council for the National Association of Collegiate Esports,” Eaton said. “He returns to West Michigan after advancing from Aquinas College to Florida Southern College and we are so glad to have someone of his stature as part of our team.”

Eaton said with an Esports competition Tuesday, Aug. 22, as the arena’s debut event, the push to completion is ahead of them. Final amenities for our facility will arrive in the week beginning Aug. 7.

“Our goal is to be the top collegiate Esports production site around, and we have made great preparations so our arena is the best it can be,” Eaton said. “We will be ready for and anxiously await the fall and our program’s future there.”

The Center for Virtual Learning will house the Information Security and Intelligence program and the Digital Animation and Game Design curriculum. Also, it will host Digital Media Software Engineering instruction and offices for the School of Education and be home to Esports gaming and facilities.

Three teens apprehended after pursuit in Ada Township

Kent County Sheriff's Office deputies received a report of a stolen vehicle in the 500 Block of Village Springs Dr. SE last Thursday around 6:30 AM.

Sometime before then, suspects were able to steal a black Ford SUV with the keys left in it. Just before 7:15 AM, Sheriff's Office deputies spotted the vehicle along Lake Eastbrook BLVD and attempted to stop the stolen SUV. The vehicle fled northbound on the East Beltline Ave. The SUV ran a red light at Burton St and struck a westbound Ford Taurus, causing it to roll over. 

Five suspects fled the stolen car and one was spotted by deputies as possibly armed. Deputies got the driver of the Taurus out and summoned medical assistance. It is expected that the non-at-fault 25-year-old Grand Rapids man will be treated and released from the hospital.

A Kent County K9 Team and two Michigan State Police K9 Teams assisted in tracking the fleeing suspects. One suspect was apprehended by a civilian nearby and turned over to police. Two more were apprehended by police with a loaded handgun being located on one juvenile (ages 14, 15, & 18).

 

One of the apprehended handguns carried by one of the teens during the pursuit. 

 

Two suspects still remain outstanding at this time. If you have any information on the two outstanding suspects, contact the Kent County Sheriff's Department.

Lina Blair Joins Student Life Office, Dean Familiar with University Leaders, Ready to Support Nurturing Campus Environment

Lina Blair, Ferris State University’s new Dean of Student Life, is brimming with optimism after joining the Student Affairs division and connecting with the departments and staffers dedicated to providing students and their families support in their lives as Bulldogs.

“Ferris is an exciting place to be, especially now,” Blair said. “It has been a joy getting to know about the good work done by my staff and what I can do to help move the needle forward for our students.”

Blair, who started on Monday, July 11, comes to Ferris after over six years with Grand Rapids Community College as director of Student Life and Conduct. Before that, they had more than a decade of service at Northern Michigan University in varied roles, including assistant dean of students.

Blair joins President Bill Pink and Vice President for University Advancement and Marketing Kathy Mullins as key contributors to Ferris’s new dynamic.

“I admire Dr. Pink’s and Dr. Mullins’ leadership and vision,” Blair said. “We have worked together in the past with great focus and determination to meet students’ basic needs, which is a key consideration across all higher education. This recent experience in our division gave me great perspective so I can jump in as dean and be a champion of their departments to help meet the needs of all of Ferris’ students.”

Blair said returning to leadership in a residential campus environment is a pleasant, though challenging aspect of service.

“Student wellness, safety and community building are priorities, so we present a campus environment with plenty of pride where each student is aware that they belong, which is so important to their well-being and success,” Blair said. “I am very happy to be a Bulldog.”

Blair, a native of Quincy, Illinois., earned a Master of Science degree from NMU in 2008, specializing in psychology, training and development. Blair earned a Bachelor of Science from the college in 2005, specializing in psychology and management.

The Northern Michigan University Alumni Association honored Blair in 2021 with an Alumni Service Award for their efforts to help students overcome barriers to success. At GRCC, Blair led efforts to address student home and food insecurity and create a Get Help website that connected students to college and community resources.

BREAKING: Fire reported in Big Rapids Walmart

Big Rapids Township Fire and Rescue was dispatched to a report of a fire started inside the Walmart department store Wednesday afternoon.

According to a city firefighter on the scene, an HVAC unit appeared to have burned out and began to blow smoke inside the facility near the food department area. This led to a full evacuation of the store.

The Township Fire and Rescue team first responded to the call and was assisted by the Big Rapids City Fire Department.

At this time, the store is now re-opened for business.

 

Wayne County Man Wins $2 Million Playing Michigan Lottery's Scorching Hot 7's Instant Game

A Wayne County man says winning $2 million playing the Michigan Lottery’s Scorching Hot 7’s instant game “doesn’t feel real.”

The lucky player, who chose to remain anonymous, bought his winning ticket at the Grove Mini Mart, located at 745 S. Grove Street in Ypsilanti.

“I had recently bought a couple of Scorching Hot 7’s tickets and didn’t win,” said the 38-year-old player. “I decided to try my luck again on a break from work, and I am really glad I did!

“I scratched the ticket in the parking lot and started shaking like a leaf when I saw the ‘2MIL’ symbol. I FaceTimed my wife to show her the ticket because I knew she wouldn’t believe me unless she saw the ticket too.”

The lucky player recently visited Lottery headquarters to claim the big prize. He chose to receive his prize as a one-time lump sum payment of about $1.4 million, rather than annuity payments for the full amount. With his winnings, he plans to pay bills, take a vacation, and then save the remainder.

“Winning doesn’t feel real, and probably won’t until our bills are paid,” the player said. 

Players have won more than $29 million playing Scorching Hot 7’s, which launched in February. Each $20 ticket offers players a chance to win prizes ranging from $20 up to $2 million. More than $73 million in prizes remain, including two $2 million top prizes, 14 $10,000 prizes and 290 $2,000 prizes.

In 2022, Lottery players won more than $1.7 billion playing instant games.

Lottery instant games may be purchased at any of the 10,500 retailers across the state.

GLIAC Football Media Day Set For Monday In Grand Rapids

The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) will hold its annual Football Media Day on Monday, July 31, at the Sheraton Grand Rapids Airport Hotel in Grand Rapids, Mich.

The GLIAC will provide exclusive coverage of the event, which will include a reveal of the 2023 preseason coaches' poll and interviews with players and coaches.

ESPN3/ESPN Plus broadcaster Adam Jaksa will host the 2023 GLIAC Football Media Day, which is scheduled to begin at 12:50 p.m. (ET) with opening comments from GLIAC Commissioner Kris Dunbar. The interview portion of the event will be streamed live on the GLIAC's YouTube Channel:

12:50 p.m.: Commissioner Kris Dunbar comments
1:00 p.m.: 2023 GLIAC Football Preseason Coaches' Poll announced
1:15 p.m.: Michigan Tech (HC Dan Mettlach, DL Sam Kinne, WR Darius Willis)
1:30 p.m.: Northern Michigan (HC Shane Richardson, TE/FB Kyle Sahr, DE Jason Coulter)
1:45 p.m.: Davenport (HC Sparky McEwen, QB Jason Whittaker, LB Julius Wilkerson)
2:00 p.m.: Ferris State (HC Tony Annese, DE Ian Hall, WR Xavier Wade)
2:15 p.m.: Grand Valley State (HC Scott Wooster, LB Abe Swanson, QB Cade Peterson)
2:30 p.m.: Saginaw Valley State (HC Ryan Brady, WR Jairus Grissom, DB Michael Woolridge)
2:45 p.m.: Wayne State (HC Tyrone Wheatley, OT Blake Bustard, CB Drake Reid)

Two-time defending NCAA Division II national champion Ferris State and reigning GLIAC champion Grand Valley State enter the 2023 season ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, according to Lindy's Sports.

GLIAC teams get the 2023 regular season underway on Thursday, Aug. 31 when Saginaw Valley State hosts Winona State and Ferris State welcomes Mercyhurst to Big Rapids.

The Bulldogs, who are the two-time defending NCAA D2 National Champions, will be represented at GLIAC Football Media Day by a pair of West Michigan and Grand Rapids area natives in senior defensive end Ian Hall (Wyoming/Grandville) and senior receiver Xavier Wade (Holland/West Ottawa) along with two-time National Coach of the Year Tony Annese.

Stay tuned to FerrisStateBulldogs.com along with FSU's various football social media platforms on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok and Threads for complete coverage from GLIAC Football Media Day.

Kent City Sheriff's Office looking for missing Plainfield Township man

61-year-old Scott Weldon went missing from his Plainfield Township home on July 19th.

The family has not heard from him since and is concerned he may be a danger to himself. It is possible that Scott was last in the area of Sand Lake on the morning of July 18th.

 

 

The family and KCSO are asking if anyone has seen him or knows his whereabouts to contact their local authorities to get him the care he needs.
If you have information that could help to move the investigation forward, please call the KCSO at 616-336-3113.

Michigan public transit drivers to compete in 46th Annual Small Bus Roadeo

The 46th Annual Michigan Small Bus Roadeo is a statewide bus operators' skills test competition and training event to determine the best small bus public transit drivers in Michigan.

The event is slated to take place from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. to on Thursday, Aug. 3, at the Bavarian Inn Lodge in Frankenmuth. Approximately 35 bus drivers representing 15 transit agencies are expected to attend the event. 

Competitors must take a written test, navigate an obstacle course, assist a passenger using a wheelchair, and conduct a vehicle safety inspection at the event. The Roadeo reinforces safe driving habits and professionalism behind the wheel while ensuring passenger safety.

Michigan transit agency managers, MDOT staff, and other volunteers will serve as judges. Winners will be announced at a dinner following the competition. The top three winners will represent Michigan by competing in the National Bus Roadeo held at the Community Transportation Association of America's (CTAA) annual expos. First, second, and third place winners will compete in the 2024 CTAA Roadeo in West Palm Beach, FL.   

Reed City Police: Weekly Blotter (7/17 - 7/23)

Monday, July 17

  • Officers received a report of Criminal Sexual Conduct. The matter was found to have happened in another jurisdiction and it was turned over to the proper investigating agency.

Tuesday, July 18

  • Nothing reported.

Wednesday, July 19

  • An officer responded to a call for possible retail fraud. Following an investigation, no evidence of retail fraud was found.
  • Officers assisted juvenile probation in locating a juvenile that had cut his ankle tether off and was evading his probation officer.

Thursday, July 20

  • Officers responded to a crash after one vehicle backed out of a parking space into another parked vehicle. No injuries, minor damage reported.
  • Officers took a report of the possible fraud of an elderly individual. It was determined no fraud had taken place.
  • An officer issued abatements regarding a trash violation of city ordinance.

Friday, July 21

  • An officer issued a trespass warning at the request of a local business, no issues.
  • An officer took a report of a possible scam situation. Following this investigation, the identity of the scammer was unable to be determined and likely from overseas.
  • An officer transported an individual to the hospital for mental health evaluation.
  • An officer assisted MSP on a domestic disturbance investigation.

Saturday, July 22

  • Nothing reported.

Sunday, July 23

  • An officer assisted in the arrest of a 33-year-old male for an outstanding warrant.

  • Officers responded to a verbal father and son dispute. Both separated for the evening.

GLIAC Champion Ferris State Volleyball Earns AVCA Team Academic Award Recognition

The Ferris State University volleyball program not only achieved success on the court during the 2022 championship season, but was also highly-successful in the classroom as the Bulldogs recently received American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Team Academic Award honors for the 2022-23 academic year.

The award, which was initiated in the 1992-93 academic year, honors collegiate and high school volleyball teams that displayed excellence in the classroom during the school year by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team grade-point average on a 4.0 scale or a 4.10 cumulative team GPA on a 5.0 scale.

The AVCA Team Academic Award is the single largest award offered by quantity of schools, players and coaches honored. Since the 2000-2001 season, the number of recipients has increased nearly every single year. Since the award's inception in 1993, the amount of award winners has increased from 62 to its current number of 1,343 this year.

Last fall, the Bulldogs won the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Regular Season and Tournament Championships while making a trip to the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen and the Midwest Regional Championship match. FSU closed the year with a 26-10 overall record and went 16-2 in GLIAC regular-season play.

The Bulldogs will open the 2023 fall slate at home, hosting their annual Ferris State Invitational on Sept. 1-2 at the new Bulldog Arena along with Jim Wink Arena inside the Ewigleben Sports Complex.

Mecosta County Sheriff's Office: Weekday Blotter (7/21 - 7/23)

Friday, July 21

  • At 1628 hours, deputies made a traffic stop on 190th Ave. and 2 Mile Rd. in Aetna TWP. The traffic stop led to the male driver and female passenger being arrested on several warrants.

  • At 1708 hours, deputies responded to a domestic at a residence in Big Rapids TWP. Male subject was arrested for assaulting his girlfriend.

Calls for Service: 8

Traffic Accidents: 2

 

Saturday, July 22

  • At 1533 hours, deputies made a warrant arrest at a residence in Big Rapids TWP. A male subject was arrested on a warrant. He was lodged at the Mecosta County Jail.

  • At 2018 hours, deputies responded to a single vehicle accident in Millbrook TWP. Further investigation led to the male driver being arrested for OWI 2nd. He was lodged at the Mecosta County Jail.

Calls for Service: 19

Traffic Accidents: 2

 

Sunday, July 23

Calls for Service: 14

Two Hats Ranch opening new sporting clay courses through fundraising event

As one of the premier hunting and lodging destinations in west central Michigan, Two Hats Ranch has always been known for providing an impactful experience for all ages. Now, the ranch is expanding their experience opportunities with a new activity: sporting clays shooting.

Over the last couple of years, the ranch has been working on developing two sporting clays shooting courses.

“We've been well known for being in the hunting business,” Co-owner Colby Bettis said. “Now, we've gone through a kind of a rebranding. We have built ourselves into what we call a ‘sporting resort.’”

The approximate 1.5 and 1.25-mile courses include about 15 different shooting stations, where shooters move around to different locations on the course and get a different kind of feel as opposed to a typical stagnant clay shooting range.

“It's like a hunting simulation, so clay targets might come from behind you, they might come inside, and from all different angles at all different speeds,” Bettis said. “Each station has a different look and feel.”

Bettis says the ranch has done smaller events to test the new course but the upcoming VESA fundraising shoot will be one of the first large scale events held at Two Hats. The event is slated for Wednesday, July 26, from 8 A.M. to 2 P.M.

Not only is it an opportunity to support vocational schools in Liberia, but it’s a chance for anyone to participate in a unique opportunity.

“We don't get to participate in the community a ton on the hunting side. With these new ventures, it’s certainly giving us an opportunity to do that. Anybody can shoot and it's set up for success. Unlike a golf outing, I don't golf and I don't have my own clubs. With this, we have real shotguns so anybody can do it.”

For more details on the event, visit https://shoot-for-vesa.square.site.

Two found dead following report of shots fired on Saturday night

On July 22, 2023 at approximately 11:15 PM, officers from the Big Rapids Police Department were dispatched to the 1100 block of Catherine St. for the report of shots fired.

Upon arrival, officers located a deceased female inside the residence. They also located several children in the residence that were unharmed. A search of the exterior of the residence led to officers discovering a deceased male.

The victims are identified as 33-year-old Samantha Houghton and 35-year-old Matthew Ottobre, both from Big Rapids. The investigation revealed that the two lived together and had children in common. They appeared to have gotten into an argument leading to Ottobre
shooting Houghton and then himself. The children were unharmed and released to the custody of family.

The Big Rapids Police Department was assisted on scene by the Big Rapids Fire Department, the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office, the Michigan State Police Crime Lab, Mecosta County EMS, Meceola Central Dispatch, the Mecosta County Medical Examiner's Office, Mecosta County Victim’s Services, and the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office Posse.

Mecosta County Sheriff's Office: Weekday Blotter (7/17 - 7/20)

Monday, July 17

  • At 1845 hours, deputies made a warrant arrest at a residence in Mecosta TWP. A male subject was arrested and lodged on a warrant.

  • At 2102 hours, deputies made a warrant arrest at a residence in Martiny TWP. A female was arrested on a warrant out of Osceola County. The female was turned over to Evart PD.

Calls for Service: 16

Traffic Accidents: 1

 

Tuesday, July 18

Calls for Service: 8

Traffic Accidents: 4

 

Wednesday, July 19

  • At 0858 hours, deputies made a traffic stop in Big Rapids TWP. The traffic stop resulted in male driver being issued an appearance ticket for DWLS. A male passenger was  arrested on a warrant out of Newaygo County.

Calls for Service: 16

Car/Deer Accidents: 1

 

Thursday, July 20

Calls for Service: 8

Traffic Accidents: 3

CranHill 2023 Youth Camps have Limited Spaces Available for 2023

CranHill, located 10 minutes east of Big Rapids, is experiencing record numbers of attendees for their popular Youth Camp Programs. There are limited spots available for the remaining 4 weeks of Summer Youth Camps and Day camp programs. Parents looking to register their children for a life changing week at camp, should visit www.cranhillranch.com/summer-camps soon, as these spots are expected to fill up quickly. 

CranHill’s Youth and Day Camp programs provide a life changing experience for youth ages 6-17. Overnight Camps, geared for 7-17 year olds, start on Sunday and end on Friday. This program offers a week of exciting activities, huge games, swimming, boating, horseback riding, life changing bible lessons and more. “For over 54 years, youth have experienced life changing weeks at CranHill’s Youth Camps” says Scott Barger, CranHill President, “Nowadays, kids need camp more than ever before. Camp is a place where lifelong memories are made and lives are transformed”. Families can register their child for camp at www.cranhillranch.com/summer-camps

Children ages 6-8 can attend CranHill’s Day Camp programs. These run Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm. Day Campers will make memories with their fellow campers, while exploring the outdoors, swimming, riding horses, playing games, making crafts and more. “For Day Campers, this is a great opportunity to get comfortable at camp.” says Scott Barger, CranHill President, “It really helps them feel prepared when they come to overnight camp.” Families looking to register their child for Day Camp can visit www.cranhillranch.com/day-camp/

Families looking to learn more about CranHill’s Summer Youth Camp and Day Camp programs can visit www.cranhillranch.com/summer-camps or call their office at 231-796-7669. Serving Michigan and the Great Lakes for over 54 years, CranHill Ministries is devoted to being a ministry through which God is transforming lives into the image of Christ through Youth Camps, Family Camping, Retreats and Adventure Experiences. CranHill is a member of Christian Camp & Conference Association, West Coast Chamber of Commerce, Mecosta County Chamber of Commerce, Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, MARVAC, West Michigan Tourist Association, Certified Horsemanship Association, and The Christian Hospitality Network.Cranhill Ministries is a non-profit organization located in Rodney, MI.

Big Rapids Lumberjacks finish successful summer development season

A summer’s worth of 23 games is now complete for fellow Big Rapids Cardinal baseball players.

Led by Pioneer Coach of the Year J.T. Scarpelli, the Lumberjacks finished a circuit of four tournaments and various weekday exhibitions with a 10-13 record against some of Michigan’s premier 16U, 17U, and 18U teams.

“It was a great building season for everyone,” Scarpelli said. “We're going to continue the work into the Fall and be ready to go again next Spring.”

Some highlighted players from the Lumberjacks include upcoming junior Ty Gielczyk, who finished the summer hitting .544 at the plate with an outstanding .768 slugging percentage. He also hit a memorable walk-off grand slam against a Midland travel team at Beal City.

“He was also our best defender all over the field,” Scarpelli said. “Ty is expected to be our primary contributor next spring.”

Senior Mayson McNeilly continued his powerful batting potential with a 1.069 OPS. The man nicknamed “Peanut” showed great versatility in the field and made great progress on the mound with a 2.8 earned run average.

“(McNeilly) showed tremendous speed and versatility,” Scarpelli said. “He also showed he should be on the mound next Spring.”

Second year player Brody Ososki made great strides, especially on the basepaths with a .571 on base percentage and four stolen bases.

“Brody is a tremendous athlete with some real speed,” Scarpelli said. “Once he fills out and logs some innings, he'll be a very competitive player for our high school program.”

Young upcomers Jonathan Losinski and Karsen Rehkopf made noise as well. Losinski was one of only two players above a .400 batting average and Rehkopf made “impressive improvement” on the mound.

Other varsity contributors include Philip Wilber, Caiden Schuberg, Nick Teceno, and Cole Kiebala.

For more sports, be sure to subscribe to the Big Rapids Daily News at WBRN.com.

One dead and one injured following head on collision in Remus

On Friday at 7:54 P.M., the Mecosta County Sheriff's office was dispatched to a two vehicle, injury accident on E. Wheatland Ave. near Hewlett St., in the village of Remus. 

The investigation showed that a 58-year-old female from Lake was traveling East bound on E. Wheatland Ave. when she lost control of her vehicle over the center line and hit a 55-year-old female from Blanchard head on, who was traveling West bound on E. Wheatland Ave.

The 58-year-old female from Lake was pronounced dead on scene after all life saving measures had been taken. The second driver was transported to a hospital in Mt. Pleasant by family members for her injuries. The investigation is ongoing and further information will be released at a later time. 

The Mecosta County Sheriff's Department was assisted by Meceola Central Dispatch, Wheatland Twp Fire and Rescue, Mecosta County EMS, AERO Med, The Mecosta County Accident Investigation Team, Mecosta County Sheriff's Posse, Curries Towing, Big Rapids Towing, and the Mid Michigan Medical Examiner Group.

Ferris State Launches New Victory View Suites Premium Area For 2023 Season

The 2023 Ferris State University football season starts soon and the Bulldogs have launched a new premium seating area for this fall at Top Taggart Field.

The "Victory View" Suites will be located in the North endzone and provide close access to the field of play. The exclusive tent location will accommodate 10 individuals and the number of suites are limited.

Each tent will include 10 game tickets, exclusive parking inside the stadium in the North Endzone for two vehicles in addition to food and drink consisting of three large pizzas and a case of water. Occupants will also be able to bring in their own food and non-alcoholic beverages as needed.

The cost per tent is only $500 per game or $2,500 for the season, which includes all five home contests this fall for the back-to-back NCAA Division II National Champions.

All individuals purchasing the "Victory View" Suites must follow all appropriate stadium protocols and, due to field proximity, must not use any inappropriate behavior toward the game officials or opposing team. Anyone found in violation of the rules is liable to be removed from the stadium with no refund.

To purchase a suite for a game or the season, please contact Coordinator of Revenue Generation and Advancement Cedric Frierson via email at Friersc1@ferris.edu.

Availability for the "Victory View" Suites is limited and fans are encouraged to purchase as soon as possible.

The Bulldogs enter the 2023 campaign as the two-time defending NCAA Division II National Champions and have been picked as the nation's preseason #1 team again by Lindy's Sports.

FSU begins the season at home on Thursday, Aug. 31, against Mercyhurst at Top Taggart Field with kickoff set for 8:00 p.m. (ET) under the lights in Big Rapids.

Orientation Leader, Administrator Pleased by Experience, Student Response Looking Ahead to 2023-24 Academic Year

Incoming students beginning their collegiate experience or transferring to Ferris State University have their final opportunities to complete orientation activities and learn about the campus in new-student sessions that continued in the David L. Eisler Center on Monday, July 17.

T.J. Johnson, a native of Kalamazoo studying Music and Entertainment Business, has worked as a student leader throughout the orientation schedule. Johnson considered his interactions with new Bulldogs attending to arrange their accommodations with Housing and Residence Life and meet representatives of university departments and other organizations.

“It has been amazing to interact with these students, feel their excitement about what is ahead for them and exchange that kind of energy,” Johnson said as the team wraps up its final full week of summer orientation. “It is a great opportunity to meet people from different walks of life and help them to be calm, engaged and able to get together with others regardless of their differences.”

Johnson has been on the job as an orientation leader since Ferris’ first sessions in early June and said common questions and areas of interest arise from each visiting group.

“They want to hear about what to expect in residence hall life, the collegiate culture at Ferris, and what to expect in terms of activities,” Johnson said. “I had a great time telling them about our beautiful campus and my experiences in my first year. We were able to help these new Bulldogs get excited about what is ahead of them.”

Orientation wraps up on Thursday, July 20. Assistant Director of Orientation Emily Hicks, with the university’s Office of Admissions, said it has been a great and successful summer orientation run, thanks to Johnson and his peers and Ferris’ newest students coming together.

“We were able to surpass our target in terms of the number of registrants participating in orientation,” Hicks said. “There is a final late orientation session on Thursday, Aug. 24, and for those who have been in communication with our office, more outreach and information about that session will be coming their way in the next week.”

Ferris’ Fall 2023 semester begins on Monday, Aug. 28.

Reed City hosting city-wide yard sales this weekend

Starting on Friday morning at approximately 8 A.M., various homes in and around Reed City will be participating in city-wide yard sales.

The three-day event will allow shopping connoisseurs the chance to find and purchase apparel, decor, tools, and other items previously bought by other homeowners. General closing of the weekend sales is scheduled for 5 P.M. on Sunday.

According to the Chamber of Commerce, over 30 residences will be participating in the weekend sales. This also includes a few homes in surrounding towns like Paris, Chase, and Ashton. 

To see an interactive map of all participating locations, visit the 2023 Reed City City-Wide Yard Sales - Google My Maps link.

For more information on the general weekend event infromation, visit the Reed City City-Wide Yardsales | Facebook link.

Waterford woman wins $559,200 monthly Jackpot Progressive prize

A Waterford woman was brought to tears when she learned she’d won a $559,200 Monthly Jackpot Progressive prize from the Michigan Lottery.

Shannon Molina, 47, won $559,200 after she was selected in a random drawing that took place June 14. She earned entries into the giveaway by playing the eligible Monthly Jackpot games online at MichiganLottery.com. For more information regarding eligible Monthly Jackpot games, please visit https://news.michiganlottery.com/monthlyjackpot.    

“When I got the call that I had won the Monthly Jackpot Progressive, I thought it was a joke,” said Molina. “I talked to the woman from the Lottery three times before I started to believe it was real. The last time I spoke to her, she setup my appointment to come claim the prize in Lansing and that’s when it hit me that it must be real.”

Molina recently visited Lottery headquarters to claim her big prize. With her winnings she plans to buy a new home, pay bills, and then save the remainder.

“Life hasn’t always been easy. Winning means we can be debt free and get a fresh start in a new home. It’s such a blessing,” Molina said. 

Select online instant games include a second chance progressive jackpot drawing. Part of every purchase of the games funds one progressive jackpot prize which is awarded in a second chance drawing each month. Players earn one entry for every $0.50 wagered playing the eligible games. After the entry period has closed, a random drawing takes place with one jackpot winner being selected from all entries for that month. 

The Monthly Jackpot Progressive game launched in April 2022. Since the Monthly Jackpot Progressive games launched, players have won more than $3.7 million in Monthly Jackpot.

Former UIA contract worker sentenced for stealing taxpayer money

The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) thanked its law enforcement partners for their work on a case that ended with today’s sentencing of a former agency contract worker who used her insider access to pay jobless benefits on fictitious claims created with stolen identities. The UIA is committed to strengthening the integrity of the state’s unemployment insurance system by working collaboratively to fight fraud and bring bad actors to justice.

“It’s shocking and discouraging when someone hired by the UIA uses the cover of a global economic crisis to scheme with others to steal taxpayer money for their own gratification,” said Julia Dale, Director of the UIA. “We won’t tolerate such shameful behavior and will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to root out fraudsters, both within and outside of the UIA, and strengthen the program’s integrity.”

Regulation agents with the UIA’s Fraud and Investigations Division built a detailed case against Semaje Reffigee by identifying irregular claim activity that uncovered a kickback scheme to defraud the agency and Michigan taxpayers. Reffigee is one of nearly 50 fraudsters – four of them former UIA staff or contract workers – who have been convicted of unemployment insurance crimes. Many more cases are pending.

In a plea agreement, Reffigee was sentenced in Detroit to 18 months in prison on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud for her participation in the pandemic-related unemployment insurance fraud scheme. She was ordered to pay $313,497 in restitution to the state of Michigan.

Kent County arrest made after suspect fired shots and caused rollover crash

Just before 11:00 PM on Monday, July 17th, the Kent County Sheriff's Office Communications Center received a call of shots fired in the area of Chrysler Rd NE & ½ Mile Lake Rd NE. 

As deputies started to respond, it was learned that a suspect fired several rounds from a firearm during an argument. A victim was able to leave with others in a vehicle, but the suspect began to chase them in his vehicle. The suspect intentionally rammed the victim’s vehicle causing it to roll over several times near Wise Rd. & Youngman Rd. in Montcalm County. The suspect then lost control of his vehicle and rolled over as well.

Upon further investigation, it was revealed the victim and suspect were known to each other and the argument started over a prior relationship issue. The victim, a 36-year-old Edmore man was struck with the butt of a long gun by a 26-year-old Gowan man. After the victim started to retreat to a car, several rounds were fired by the suspect near the victim’s car. No persons or vehicles was struck by gunfire. At this point, the vehicle chase began.

KCSO deputies arrested the suspect on charges of felonious assault and reckless discharge of a firearm. The victim/driver and his passengers suffered minor injuries and were taken to an area hospital. The suspect will be arraigned in the 63rd District Court.

The Greenville Department of Public Safety, Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office, and Michigan State Police Troopers assisted at the crash site in taking the suspect into custody and providing medical treatment for the victim after he was ejected from his car.

US-10 and M-61 improvements start this upcoming Monday in Osceola County

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is investing approximately $2.6 million to resurface M-61 (16 Mile Road) in the village of Marion from M-115 to the Osceola/Clare county line, and US-10 in Evart from the Muskegon River to M-66.   

According to MDOT, the project is slated to begin Monday, July 24th and be completed by late August. Lane closures and traffic shifts will be in effect throughout the project. Both directions of traffic will share one lane and alternate via traffic regulators.

Based on economic modeling, this investment is expected to directly and indirectly support about 32 jobs. This project will provide a better ride and extend the service life of the roadways.

For up-to-date traffic information on this project and others throughout the state, go to www.Michigan.gov/Drive.

Reed City Police: Weekly Blotter (7/10 - 7/16)

Monday, July 10

  • An officer took a report for a complaint regarding an unemployment scam and possible identity theft.
  • An officer assisted the Michigan State Police on a domestic assault call and transported an individual jail involved in the assault.
  • An officer responded to a call about some suspicious items found inside the campground. Following this investigation, no evidence of a crime was found.

Tuesday, July 11

  • An officer issued two abatement notices for violations of city ordinance for lawn care.
  • An officer transported an individual to the hospital for a mental health evaluation.
  • An officer responded to a call about an emotionally impaired juvenile out of control. The responded and was able to calm the juvenile.
  • Officers were dispatched to a woman who appeared confused walking down the road. Officers made contact and determined the woman has a ride on the way.

Wednesday, July 12

  • Officers transported an individual to a mental health treatment facility.
  • An officer took a report of found bicycles. If you are missing bicycles, contact the Reed City Police to identify and claim them.

Thursday, July 13

  • An officer took a report of a stolen bicycle.
  • Officers received an investigation referral from CPS. The matter was not criminal in nature.

Friday, July 14

  • Officers responded to a report of possible trespassing at an apartment complex. Upon investigation it was determined to be a case of mistaken identity.
  • An officer issued several abatement notices for violation of city ordinance for lawn care.

Saturday, July 15

  • An officer transported an individual to the Reed City Hospital after suicidal threats.

Sunday, July 16

  • An officer issued several abatement notices for violation of city ordinance for lawn care.

  • An officer responded to a call about loud music. It was found to be a wedding reception at a residence. Due to the early hours of the morning the newly weds agreed to lower the volume of their celebration out of consideration for their neighbors.

Nearly 27,000 federal student loan borrowers in Michigan approved for loan forgiveness

The Biden-Harris Administration has approved 804,000 borrowers for $39 billion in federal student loans for automatic discharge this summer. Eligible borrowers will not have to take any action to receive this income-driven repayment (IDR) forgiveness.

In Michigan, nearly 27,000 borrowers will receive more than $1.26 billion in IDR forgiveness in the coming weeks.

Below is a statement President Joe Biden released on Friday (in the press release linked below, a statement from Education Secretary Miguel Cardona is included and a statement Vice President Kamala Harris is linked):

“I have long said that college should be a ticket to the middle class - not a burden that weighs down on families for decades. 

“My Administration is delivering on that commitment. Starting today, over 800,000 student loan borrowers who have been repaying their loans for 20 years or more will see $39 billion of their loans discharged because of steps my Administration took to fix failures of the past. These borrowers will join the millions of people that my Administration has provided relief to over the past two years – resulting in over $116 billion in loan relief to over 3 million borrowers under my Administration. 

“But we’re not stopping there. My Administration has worked hard to secure the largest increases to Pell Grants in a decade, fixed broken loan programs such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness, and created a new income-driven repayment plan that will cut undergraduate loan payments in half and bring monthly payments to zero for low-income borrowers. And, when the Supreme Court made the wrong decision, I immediately announced a new plan to open an alternative path to relief for as many borrowers as possible, as soon as possible.

“Republican lawmakers – who had no problem with the government forgiving millions of dollars of their own business loans – have tried everything they can to stop me from providing relief to hardworking Americans. Some are even objecting to the actions we announced today, which follows through on relief borrowers were promised, but never given, even when they had been making payments for decades. The hypocrisy is stunning, and the disregard for working and middle-class families is outrageous.

“As long as I’m in office, I will continue to work to bring the promise of college to every American.”

More information about these discharges can be found in the full press release here: https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/biden-harris-administration-releases-state-state-data-39-billion-loan-forgiveness-804000-borrowers-result-fixes-income-driven-repayment-plans

Mecosta County Sheriff's Office: Weekend Blotter (7/16 - 7/18)

Friday, July 14

  • Nothing reported.

 

Saturday, July 15

Calls for Service: 10

Car/Deer Accidents: 1

 

Sunday, July 16

  • At 1300 hours, deputies responded to a domestic at a residence in Martiny TWP. A female subject was arrested for assaulting her boyfriend. She was lodged at the Mecosta County Jail.

Calls for Service: 8

Traffic Accidents: 1

Alumni Building Renovation Nears Completion, Information Technology Services Relocating to Historic Campus Structure

The historic Alumni Building at Ferris State University is undergoing a major renovation on the Big Rapids campus.

Contractors are finishing updates to Ferris State University’s venerable Alumni Building, which will begin service later this summer as the base of Information Technology Services (ITS) for the campus and home of the University Archives.

Facilities Management Project Manager Karen Simmon said the professionals overseeing renovation and construction in the 93-year-old structure encountered and overcame considerable obstacles in their effort to support the transfer of the ITS Data Center from the adjacent West Building.

“We are pleased by the progress our contractors have made responding to all they encountered in their work to meet current code and accommodate significant technology upgrades to the Alumni Building,” Simmon said. “We intend to have ITS operating in that space by early August.”

Ferris’ Board of Trustees approved a $12.5 million appropriation in May 2021 to address the necessary Alumni Building renovations and raze the West Building, part of the complex along Oak Street on the northeast corner of campus.

“West Building had simply reached the end of its service life,” Simmon said. “Our goal was to preserve the history and tradition of the Alumni Building, then follow with the demolition of the West Building, before the close of the 2023 construction season.”

Associate Vice President and Chief Information Officer Charlie Weaver said Alumni Building will provide Information Technology Services with several attributes, creating operational efficiencies for IT equipment and his staff.

“The largest benefit is our ability to place working groups on the same floor, offering us greater ease of interaction,” Weaver said. “Alumni Building will also have improved lighting, air conditioning and an uninterrupted power supply, to support campus technology operations better.”

The renovation plan also includes a training room, which Weaver said will be a university asset.

“This is a large space where meetings could be held to offer presentations on the Banner system or review campus cybersecurity issues,” Weaver said. “Non-technical gatherings, such as diversity or other subject sessions, will also be welcome. The training room is simply an area available outside of student instruction to benefit the university community.”

Alumni Building, which opened in 1929, is the oldest structure on the Ferris campus. It was named to honor thousands of alumni whose donations funded the construction. For decades, the multipurpose building had classrooms, office space and a gymnasium home to Ferris’ basketball program. The February 1950 fire that destroyed “Old Main,” the original home of Ferris Institute, did not damage the nearby Alumni Building.

Big Rapids boys' tennis "reloading" for upcoming season

After arguably one of the best seasons in school history, the Cardinals look forward to continuing their proven success in the fall.

While the team has lost five players from last year’s team due to graduation or a school change, head coach Jon Coles believes this year’s team has major potential.

“We lost five out of twelve players,” Coles said. “However, I see us reloading, not rebuilding. We will be skilled but inexperienced in the singles lineup and should be very solid and deep in doubles.”

Along with the roster changes, the team will also be moved up to Division 3 due to boosted enrollment numbers. This creates a much tougher schedule for the Cardinals in the regular and postseason.

“D3 is a different animal,” Coles said. “It’s a much, much tougher division. Our schedule is extremely difficult. We have 17 dates scheduled and we’ll play 13 State Qualifiers from the 2022 season.”

 

A few Cardinal players practicing returns at last Monday's practice at Big Rapids High School.

 

Based on his team’s personnel, Coles mentioned that he wants to get his younger players some experience on both levels and he believes that the talent can make this team just as special as last year’s team.

“We can be just as good as last year if not better. We are extremely deep so it will be an extremely close and competitive competition for the top 12 spots. I’m not opposed to a few guys being two-way players throughout the season because we are so deep. My plan will be to have our top JV guys practice with Varsity to make us stronger next year and the years ahead. I’ve never done that but it makes sense given our depth.”

When it comes to goals, the Cardinals have some goals already set entering pre-season workouts. Not only do they include qualifying for the state tournament and winning a regional championship, but more beyond the trophies.

This includes life lessons like “teamwork, discipline, sacrifice, work ethic, and commitment.”

“(We want to) have fun and foster a good team environment and culture. We’ll make positive memories regardless of the outcomes.”

For more local sports coverage, subscribe to the Big Rapids Daily News at WBRN.com.

Ferris State Athletics Hall Of Fame Banquet Set For August 30

Ferris State University has announced tickets are now on sale for this fall's Bulldog Athletics Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which will take place on Wednesday, Aug. 30, on the FSU campus.

Seven former standout student-athletes representing six different sports programs comprise the Ferris State University Bulldog Athletics Hall of Fame Class, which was originally voted in back in 2020 before COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the event.

The 2023 class, which will represent the school's 13th class of inductees, includes: Jeff Blashill (Hockey, 1994-98), Lucy (DeMartin) Prior (Women's Basketball, 2000-04), Dannie Hayes (Men's Basketball, 1991-95), Tianna Kirkland (Women's Basketball/Track & Field, 1997-01), Brad Morris (Wrestling, 1985-89), Jason Vander Laan (Football, 2012-15) and the late Gideon Smith (Football, 1910-11), who is likely to be represented by his grandson John Belcher.

The Bulldog Athletics Hall of Fame Selection Committee also selected longtime supporter and former administrator Carma Burcham as a recipient of the Athletics Special Service Award.

The Hall of Fame banquet will take place at the David L. Eisler Center ballroom on the Ferris State campus beginning with a reception at 5 p.m. (ET) followed by a welcome and dinner starting at 6 p.m. (ET). The program and induction ceremony will follow at approximately 7 p.m. (ET).

Tickets for the event are $75 per person and can be purchased online while availability remains at FerrisStateBulldogs.com/Tickets. For additional information, please contact Coordinator of Revenue Generation & Advancement Cedric Frierson via email at CedricFrierson@ferris.edu.
"We look forward to what should be an exceptional event honoring these standout former student-athletes," said FSU Athletics Director Steve Brockelbank. "This class of individuals is an outstanding group that deserves this recognition and the opportunity to be showcased in front of family, friends, former teammates and supporters. We hope to have a big turnout on this special night for this Hall of Fame ceremony."

Together, the class includes four individuals who earned All-America honors at FSU, including Prior, Kirkland, Vander Laan and Morris along with one of the top men's basketball scorers in school history in Hayes, a former head coach of the Detroit Red Wings and current Tampa Bay Lightning assistant coach in Blashill, a two-time Harlon Hill Trophy winner as the nation's top football standout in Vander Laan along with Smith, who was an early college football pioneer as one of the school's first African-American players and is currently on the ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame.

A 13-member Selection Committee comprised of faculty, staff, alumni and community members selected the 2020 inductees back in 2020 from a large group of initial nominees. The seven individuals will become the newest members of a current Bulldog Athletics Hall of Fame member group that presently includes 108 previous inductees along with one team. Vander Laan, who also played in the National Football League (NFL) and regarded as one of the top players in Division II football history, was chosen in the selection process after the mandatory 10-year waiting period was waived, becoming the first recipient ever chosen by FSU for early induction.

This year's Hall of Fame event will take place the night prior to the Bulldogs' 2023 football home opener against Mercyhurst, which takes place on Thursday, Aug. 31, at Top Taggart Field. The Hall of Fame inductees will also be recognized during the contest.

The Bulldog Athletics Hall of Fame, which inducted its Charter Class in 2000, was established to honor those student-athletes and coaches who have distinguished themselves in their sport or honorary members who made truly exceptional contributions to athletics.

Those who are inducted must first meet the following nomination criteria - Nominees must be departed from Ferris State University for at least 10 years; Nominees must have earned at least one varsity letter and must have distinguished themselves by exemplary performance in the field of athletics; Secondary consideration is given for the performance of meritorious service in behalf of Ferris State Athletics after leaving FSU, or a singular contribution to FSU's Athletics program, and Nominees must have demonstrated good citizenship and conducted exemplary professional/occupational careers which reflect credit on the individual and Ferris State University.

 

Following are thumbnail sketches of the 2023 Bulldog Athletics Hall of Fame inductees:

 

Jeff Blashill (Hockey, 1994-98) - The former head coach of the NHL's Detroit Red Wings and the current assistant coach for the Tampa Bay Lightning, Blashill began his coaching career by spending three seasons (1999-02) as an assistant under head coach Bob Daniels at Ferris State, his alma mater, before moving on to the professional ranks in a distinguished coaching career. He also spent six seasons (2002-08) with Miami University, helping the CCHA's RedHawks qualify for the NCAA Tournament four times while recruiting three Hobey Baker Finalists, four CCHA All-Rookie Team members, 11 first or second team All-CCHA players and six All-Americans. Blashill has also been a regular member of Team USA's coaching staff in international competition. The former goaltender spent four seasons between the pipes for Ferris State, earning the Bulldogs' Rookie of the Year award in 1994-95 and a spot on the CCHA's All-Academic Team for 1996-97. He also garnered the Ferris State University President's Award for three straight years for having the team's highest-grade point average. Blashill ranked among the top 15 netminders in school history with 27 career victories and his 78 games played between the pipes also ranked among the top 10 all-time in a FSU uniform. He's also listed on the all-time charts with 1,666 career saves at Ferris State. His other coaching highlights include winning a championship in his first season as the head coach of junior hockey's Indiana Ice in the United States Hockey League along with leading NCAA Division I Western Michigan to the CCHA Championship Game and the NCAA Tournament in his only campaign in Kalamazoo. Following his tenure at Western Michigan, he served as a Red Wings' assistant before spending three seasons as the head coach for the Grand Rapids Griffins when he led them to the 2013 Calder Cup Championship and later was named the AHL's Most Outstanding Coach in 2013-14.

 

Lucy (DeMartin) Prior (Women's Basketball, 2000-04) – The former Bulldog standout ranks as the school's all-time leading scorer in women's basketball with 1,721 career points. Her play as a senior helped the Bulldogs to the NCAA Tournament along with a runner-up finish in the GLIAC. The Mason product was a two-time honorable mention All-American on the hardwood for the Bulldogs and averaged in double-figures each of her final three seasons in a FSU uniform. She was a four-year letterwinner and has her jersey retired in Wink Arena. Prior posted a school single-season record 567 points as a senior and received first-team 2003-04 Verizon Academic All-America College Division laurels along with Daktronics Division II Honorable Mention All-America recognition. She was also a Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) All-Great Lakes Region First Team selection, among 40 national finalists for the NCAA Division II Kodak/WBCA All-America Team and chosen as a 2003-04 Division II Women's Basketball Bulletin Honorable Mention All-American. As a senior, she ranked as FSU's leading scorer (18.3 ppg) and finished her career as the school's leader with 402 made free throws while being listed among Ferris' all-time top 10 performers in field goals (605), steals (198), assists (356), rebounds (415), blocked shots (35), three-point field goals (109), three-point field goal percentage (.344) and free throw percentage (.778). A two-time All-GLIAC and Daktronics NCAA Division II All-Great Lakes Region First-Team selection, her team-leading 20.2 points per game scoring average as a junior ranked first among the school's all-time leaders and placed second in the GLIAC's overall statistical rankings. The team co-captain guided FSU to its second-ever NCAA Division II National Tournament appearance as a senior. The Bulldogs, who concluded the year with a 21-10 overall record, compiled a second-place 14-4 GLIAC North Division mark and finished second in the league's 2003-04 postseason tournament.

 

Dannie Hayes (Men's Basketball, 1991-95) – Hayes is regarded as one of the top performers on the floor in Ferris State men's basketball history. He remains one of FSU's all-time leading scorers with 1,846 career points. The two-time first-team All-GLIAC honoree averaged 21.5 points per game as a senior and twice led the team in rebounding during his memorable career. Ferris State claimed a league title and posted two runner-up finishes during his career under head coach Tom Ludwig. The Bulldogs won at least 12 games in all four of his seasons in the FSU lineup. He also finished his career among the top 10 in school history with 129 career made three-pointers and 125 steals while his 551 career rebounds ranked among the top 20 all-time performers in Bulldog history. Hayes' 636 career made field goals represented one of the top 10 efforts on the school's all-time list as did his 445 made free throws in a Ferris State uniform. Hayes was the 1992 GLIAC Freshman of the Year and was also a first-team all-region choice as a senior. Twice he was chosen as the Bulldogs' Most Valuable Player Award recipient. A four-year letterwinner, he was a first team NABC All-Great Lakes District pick in 1995 after earning second-team recognition the previous year and claiming preseason All-America accolades. He also made a school-record 20 consecutive free throws in a game and went on to play a distinguished nine-year professional career overseas in Poland, Israel and in the French Euro League. Hayes averaged over 21 points per game in each of his final two seasons at Ferris State.

 

Tianna Kirkland (Women's Basketball/Track, 1997-01) - A two-sport standout, Kirkland enjoyed a stellar four-year playing career at FSU from 1997-2001. The team's leading scorer and rebounder in her final two seasons, Kirkland guided the Bulldogs to a combined record of 74-37 and their first-ever NCAA Division II Tournament appearance in 2000. Kirkland put together her finest collegiate season as a senior co-captain in 2000-01, leading Ferris State to a 16-11 record while posting career-high averages of 15.2 points and 9.7 rebounds. She was named a Women's Basketball Bulletin third-team All-American, as well as the GLIAC Player of the Year and has her jersey retired in Wink Arena. Kirkland was also selected to the All-Great Lakes Region and GLIAC All-Defense first teams in her final season. The standout performer tallied team-high averages in points (11.9 ppg) and rebounds (9.1 rpg) while leading the Bulldogs to a 22-7 record as a junior in 1999-2000 when Ferris State earned its first NCAA postseason berth in 33 years and claimed a share of its first GLIAC North Division regular-season championship (16-3). Kirkland was named to the All-GLIAC second team as a junior, as well as the conference's all-tournament and all-academic squads. Kirkland, who also earned her team's Most Valuable Player (2000-01) and Most Improved Player (1999) awards, closed her career ranked among the school's top 10 leading scorers (926 points), rebounders (705) and shooters in field goal percentage (.540, 350-of-648). She also left FSU ranked in the top 10 for blocks (40) and free throws made (226). Kirkland also lettered in track and field at Ferris State, earning NCAA Division II All-America honors in the indoor and outdoor shot put and the discus in her final season. A two-time co-captain, Kirkland left FSU as the school record holder in all three events. She also held the second-best all-time mark in both the indoor weight throw and the outdoor hammer throw at the conclusion of her career. Following her playing career, she was a longtime assistant women's basketball coach on the NCAA Division I level, including stints at Central Michigan, Butler, Eastern Michigan, Michigan and Illinois.

 

Brad Morris (Wrestling, 1985-89) - A three-time All-American wrestler for the Bulldogs. Morris was a two-time national runner-up (1987 & 89) and placed fourth in 1988 in the 167-pound weight class. He also was a two-time Academic All-America Honorable Mention selection for the Bulldogs. The mat standout earned a bachelor's degree from FSU in marketing/business education and later received a master's degree from Saginaw Valley State. Morris went on to a standout prep football coaching career, coaching two Michigan Division 1 state championship teams. He was chosen as FSU's Bulldog of the Year recipient for the 1986-87 campaign as the school's top male student-athlete. In four years, Morris never lost a GLIAC match and was a four-time GLIAC Champion. Morris earned GLIAC Freshman of The Year Award in 1986 and in 1989, as a senior, was voted GLIAC Most Valuable Wrestler and was ranked as high as #1 in Division 2 and #8 in Division 1. Morris was victorious in a head-to-head match with Division 1's national runner-up in a 2-1 match and tied Division 1's #4 ranked wrestler 2-2. Morris' two national runner-up finishes are tied for the program's top individual finishes in school history. He owns the school record for most matches in a season with 53 during the 1988-89 campaign. He's was first with 12 tournament wins and ranks as the most dominant wrestler in the 167-pound class in Bulldog history.  In his senior campaign, Morris helped lead the team to head to head victories over Michigan State University, Eastern Michigan University, M.A.C. Champions Central Michigan University and the program's highest finish ever with a national runner-up showing. In his four seasons at Ferris State, the Bulldogs had three consecutive top 10 national finishes and twice placed among the top four teams in the nation under head coach Jim Miller. Morris is the only individual in FSU wrestling history to twice garner national runner-up honors. Overall, he's second in school history with 125 wins and his 41 wins his final season are tied for the second-most in school history. Morris is among a select group of individuals at Ferris State to earn All-America honors three times on the mat. FSU's second-place effort at the 1989 national championships, in his senior season, is tied for the second-highest team finish in Bulldog Athletics history.

 

Gideon Smith (Football, 1910-11) - One of the first African American players at the school, Smith was a star football player at Ferris Institute during the 1910 and 1911 seasons, earning a varsity sweater after the 1910 season. Regarded as one of the team's top linemen, Smith learned to play football at Ferris Institute where he was noted as a "star player" under head coach W.C. "Top" Taggart. Smith continued his college football career as a star player at the Michigan Agricultural College (Michigan State University) and was a member of Michigan State's inaugural Athletics Hall of Fame induction class in 1994 after becoming the school's first African American athlete. In 1913, Smith was named to the All-Western Second Team and later was an All-Western First Team pick in 1915. After graduating from M.A.C, Smith played one professional football game as one of the first black athletes after his collegiate career. It was a single contest, but the game (and Smith's role in it) is etched in the annals of American professional football. The game was the Canton Bulldogs, led by the legendary Jim Thorpe, versus Knute Rockne and the Massillon Tigers for the Ohio League Championship. It would come down to a controversial fumble which was recovered by none other than Gideon Smith, sealing the victory for the Canton Bulldogs. Smith later had a long and distinguished career as coach and Athletic Director at Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute (Hampton University) where his teams won five CIAA football championships and 10 track and field championships. As the football coach at Hampton, where he held that position from 1921 to 1940. Smith would compile a 97-46-12 record, including six one-loss seasons and two undefeated seasons in 1926 and 1933. Smith was the winningest coach in the first 90 years of the Institute. In the last years of his professional life, he became the athletic director at Hampton. In 1961, Ferris State College awarded Smith a distinguished alumni award. In 2014, Smith was named the American Football Coaches Association's recipient of the Trailblazer Award, an accolade created to honor early leaders in the football profession who coached at historically black colleges. Since 2017, Smith has appeared on the College Football Hall of Fame ballot.

 

Jason Vander Laan (Football, 2012-15) – A four-year starter and two-time team captain. Vander Laan had a historic collegiate gridiron career at Ferris State and reached the National Football League. He ranks as the school's all-time rushing and scoring leader and broke the school record for most career TD's (81). At the conclusion of his collegiate career, he ranked number one all-time in career rushing by a quarterback at any level of college football and number two for career rushing TD's at any level of college football. He was the first QB in NCAA History to compile 1,000 plus rushing and passing yards for four-straight years. Vander Laan was a two-time Harlon Hill Trophy winner as the NCAA Division II Player of Year and was also the 2014 and 2015 Division II National Scholar-Athlete of the Year as the country's top male student-athlete for all sports. He was honored as a 2015 Campbell Trophy "Academic Heisman" finalist, for all levels, and chosen as a consensus All-American each of his final two years. He was also a two-time GLIAC Player of the Year and two-time All-GLIAC First Team choice. Later, he was recognized as one of the NCAA's Today's Top 10 Award winners for his success on the field, in the classroom and in the community. Vander Laan was signed by the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent in 2016 and has also had NFL stops with the Indianapolis Colts, Carolina Panthers and the New England Patriots in addition to the New Orleans Saints.

Athletics Special Service Award
Carma Burcham

A longtime supporter of Bulldog Athletics and dedicated employee of Ferris State University, Burcham served as the school's coordinator of records and NCAA eligibility for more than 30 years where she impacted thousands of student-athletes prior to her retirement. While at Ferris State, she held numerous roles and positions including serving as the assistant registrar for athletic eligibility. She also served on the Bulldog Athletics Hall of Fame committee and was active in numerous booster clubs over the years. Burcham, who was one of the first recipients of FSU's Pete Peterson Bulldog Pride Award for her athletics contributions and support, also devoted her time to helping recognize the academic accomplishments of Ferris State student-athletes throughout her administrative career. Her husband, Dan, went on to serve as FSU's Vice President of Student Affairs during a distinguished career as a professor and administrator on the Big Rapids campus. Burcham is the fifth overall recipient of the Bulldog Athletics Hall of Fame Special Service Award and the first since 2011.

Ferris State University Michigan College of Optometry Students' Patient Communication Skills Focal Point of Foundation Grant Support

Third-year students in Ferris State University’s Michigan College of Optometry can better develop critical “soft skills” thanks to a Faculty and Staff Merit Grant from The Ferris Foundation.

Three cancer specialists developed the six-step SPIKES method of addressing complex and potentially distressing medical information with patients. MCO Professor Dr. Sarah Hinkley said she and fellow faculty member and Emily Aslakson, an associate professor, discussed using the program.

“There are certainly diagnoses and other situations that arise where sensitive discussions are necessary to inform patients of their condition and possible outcomes,” Hinkley said. “We felt there was value in intentionally exploring how best to break the bad news to patients. A pilot program was offered to third-year students in the Spring 2023 semester.”

Michigan College of Optometry faculty members Emily Aslaskon (left) and Sarah Hinkley (right) collaborated on a “Breaking Bad News” workshop for third-year MCO students, which received formative funding support through a Merit Grant from The Ferris Foundation.

 

Hinkley said they arranged for patient actors and offered these encounters in an appropriate setting to respectfully present medical findings and show empathy for the patient in a deliberate, careful conversation.

“The actors we brought in for our pilot session ranged from teenagers to senior citizens. They contributed greatly to the learning experience for our students,” Hinkley said. “We saw great engagement by those involved and some emotional reaction to these encounters.”

The Ferris Foundation grant provides the resources to establish an expanded Breaking Bad News workshop for third-year MCO students with one-on-one experiences with an actor rather than in pairs.

“Empathy is an important component of an optometrist’s best practices,” Hinkley said. “We are glad to establish the workshop as an official offering, thanks to this grant award.”

For more information about the Faculty and Staff Merit Grant Program, visit The Ferris Foundation’s website.

The "Taylor Swift Experience" on its way to Reed City

To continue the city’s social district events coming up this summer, Reed City will be hosting headliner Kanin Wren and her “Taylor Swift Experience” performance.

The event is slated for July 29th starting with local opening act Aaron Rohde at 5:30 P.M. Wren will take the stage around 7:00 P.M. Admission is free to event.

“Most recently over 4,000 people attended (her) event at Riversedge Amphitheater in Hamilton, Ohio,” City manager Rich Saladin said. “We hope people take advantage of it to see this young talent in person. Other locations are charging $15-20 per ticket!”

Local establishments, like Buckboard Bar and Grill, will be providing a food truck with drinks and food for spectators. There will also be a crafting element in coordination with event.

“Art in the Park will carry over from Saturday morning to the event with Donna Wheeler coordinating the making of Friendship Bracelets - a tradition at all Taylor Swift concerts,” Saladin said.

The event is being funded by a grant coordinated through the Osceola County Community Foundation and is sponsored by Huntington National Bank.

For more information, visit the “Event Calendar” on WBRN.com.

MDHHS seeking bids to expand medications for opioid use disorder treatment in county jails

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for providers to increase the availability of transportation services for individuals seeking or engaged in treatment, harm reduction or recovery support services for opioid use disorder.

The purpose of this program is to provide one-time grant funding through the Michigan Opioid Healing and Recovery Fund to increase the availability of transportation services for individuals seeking or engaged in treatment, harm reduction or recovery support services. It is a priority of MDHHS to reduce health disparities in overdoses and Substance Use Disorder (SUD) treatment and recovery services. Grants are intended to encourage treatment, harm reduction and recovery service access and retention by expanding transportation to these services. Proposals should include plans to target communities and underserved populations in need of services and support.

This opportunity is open to SUD treatment providers, recovery community organizations, harm reduction organizations, federally recognized tribes, Indian Health Services, Tribal and Urban Indian Organizations and SUD peer service organizations.

A total of $2.8 million is available in this RFP, with a maximum award of $200,000 per grantee. MDHHS anticipates issuing up to 14 awards.

Grant applications must be submitted electronically through the EGrAMS program by 3 p.m., Tuesday, August 25. The program period begins Nov. 1, 2023, and ends Sept. 30, 2024. Successful applications may be awarded continuing funding based upon funding availability and acceptable performance.

A pre-application conference will be held to discuss this funding opportunity and provide instruction on using the EGrAMS system. The pre-application conference will be held on Friday, July 21 at 12:30 p.m. and will last approximately 90 minutes. The conference can be accessed at https://bit.ly/3CLjKQY

For more information or to apply, visit the EGrAMS website and select "About EGrAMS" link in the left panel to access the "Competitive Application Instructions" training manual. The complete RFP can be accessed under the ‘Current Grants’ section under the “Behavioral Hlth and Dev Dis Adm Standard” link and selecting the “SUDTS-2024” grant program.

These grants are being funded through opioid settlement funding. Additional information regarding proposed programming efforts to address SUD is provided in the Opioids Settlement: FY2023 Spend Plan.

Early Learning Center Construction Advances, Added Classroom Space In New Facility

The construction of Ferris State University’s Early Learning Center is progressing well for the new educational facility that will also serve care needs for the children of students, faculty, staff, and the greater community as the 2023-24 academic year begins.

Ferris has offered the ELC as a resource since the late 1980s to provide hands-on learning for its Early Childhood Education students while offering quality educational experiences children of the university community. In February 2022, the Board of Trustees approved the design and development of the stand-alone facility, according to Early Learning Center Manager Lori Johnson.

“We are thankful the supply chain issues of the last year or so have not impacted progress at the center,” Johnson said. “There is great excitement among our team as we move toward dedicated and designed operational space, which will mean a great deal for our instructional capabilities and staff.”

The Early Learning Center continues benefiting from successful applications for government funding of its operations. Johnson secured a U.S. Department of Education grant in Fall 2022 that will provide $2.04 million over four years for the center through the “Child Care Access Means Parents in School” (CCAMPIS) program. The awarded funds will provide a family support specialist joining the staff, the addition of “wrap-around care” for children after the conclusion of the school day and subsidies to support the costs of care for children of Pell Grant-eligible students.

The Early Learning Center also received just over $178,000 from the Michigan Department of Education last year, with most of those funds used for classroom material purchases, staffing costs and tuition assistance.

Bishop Hall was home to the facility, but it is scheduled for demolition as part of the Campus Master Plan. The new Early Learning Center is on the west side of campus near Ferris’ Department of Public Safety, Cramer Hall and West Campus Apartments. Johnson expects visitors will enjoy the future center’s floor plan.

“We will grow to five classrooms, increasing our capacity for children under three years of age,” Johnson said. “This will accentuate the learning opportunity for our Early Childhood Education students and the families we serve.”

Plans are still in development for the Early Learning Center’s grand opening, expected during the Fall 2023 semester.

Deer smashes through car windshield in Mecosta County car accident

On Friday at 11:21 A.M., the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office responded to a one vehicle accident in Grant TWP. An 83-year-old male from Big Rapids was driving southbound on 160th Ave near 21 Mile Rd when a deer jumped into the windshield of the vehicle. The deer came through the windshield and struck the driver.

The man was transported via a Mecosta County Ambulance to the Corewell Emergency Room in Big Rapids for treatment of minor injuries. The female passenger in the vehicle was not injured in the incident.

The Mecosta County Sheriff's Office was assisted by Meceola Central Dispatch, Big Rapids City Rescue, and Mecosta EMS.

Hospitality Management Program Coordinator's Tech-Focused Sabbatical Opens with Vivid London Experiences

A year of exploring and assessing technology’s impact on the hospitality and event management industry got off to a blistering start in May. Amy Dorey, Ferris State University’s Hospitality Management program coordinator, started her sabbatical in London, England, with learning opportunities in an online gaming competition and a virtual concert experience.

Dorey joined the Ferris State Esports staff in Copperbox Arena, the site of the Mid-Season Invitational for the video game “League of Legends.” Andrew Peterson, Ferris’ interim director of eLearning, compared the event to the “March Madness” college basketball tournament for competition in this globally popular game.

“We are well acquainted with the hosts/coordinators of this event. They were more than happy to give Amy an immersive experience while they oversaw the invitational,” Peterson said. “There were between 500 and 600 guests attending the competition on-site. More than 100,000 were in the online audience, clicking links to access supportive video and text, and taking in advertising that really allows the event to take place.”

Dorey was appreciative of this collaborative opportunity.

“It was a bit of a shock to assess all the parallels the MSI presented as they relate to our roles in hospitality and event management,” Dorey said. “The post-pandemic market has made clear the need to serve online audiences well, but this experience showed me the appetite their viewers had for all aspects of the presentation. Our consultants fashioned a system that allowed me to use their technology and focus on achieving what I intended to gain from the competition.”

Peterson said having Dorey in their group brought an added, valuable perspective.

“Her questions about certain facets of the competition’s presentation gave us a ‘new set of eyes’ on this activity,” he said. “We are glad Amy got so much out of joining us behind the scenes, which allowed us to think broadly about how to support and serve the gaming audience.”

Dorey’s more individualized experience came in a visit to Abba Voyage, a hybrid concert experience with avatar imagery of the classic pop group mixed with instrumental performers. It continues an 18-month residency in the portable Abba Arena in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

“You can read all you want and study this presentation online, but it was very important to see the product, to appreciate what technology has allowed its creators to present,” Dorey said. “Abba Voyage is in a completely purpose-focused venue. I was ‘in overdrive,’ considering what is necessary and taking place, in terms of audience accommodation with my critical professional eye, while the overwhelming event experience plays out before you. I spoke to many others in attendance who traveled from all parts of the world to experience this now year-old offering, which will relocate to several countries, based on global interest in the experience.”

Dorey acknowledged she was off to a rapid start in her sabbatical, which she intends to use as a basis for revisions to the Hospitality Management curriculum.

“It shapes up to be quite a learning opportunity, especially with experts like Ferris’ Esports team to augment my understanding,” Dorey said. “That calls for a careful review of the physical and digital requirements applied to best present these experiences. Technology has been woven into travel, tourism, and entertainment so quickly we cannot wait to adjust our program, so our graduates can respond and serve well in a changing, thriving marketplace.”

Mecosta County Sheriff's Office: Weekday Blotter (7/10 - 7/13)

Monday, July 10

Calls for Service: 17

Traffic Accidents: 2

 

Tuesday, July 11

Calls for Service: 12

 

Wednesday, July 12

Calls for Service: 15

 

Thursday, July 13

  • At 2321 hours, deputies made a warrant arrest at a residence in Mecosta TWP. A male subject was arrested on a warrant. He was lodged at the Mecosta County Jail.

Calls for Service: 14

Traffic Accidents: 2

Kent County bank robbery suspect arrested Friday morning

The Kent County Sheriff's Office has identified and arrested a robbery suspect who took cash from a Grand Rapids bank last Thursday.

The event occured just before 10:30 A.M. in the 6200 block of Kalamazoo Ave. in Gaines Twp. The suspect had reportedly demanded an amount of cash by presenting a threatening note and fled with the money heading North in a tan colored Chevy Malibu. 

 

*Image provided by the Kent County Sheriff's Office

 

Investigators later executed a seach warrant at the 100 block of Burton St. after recieving a tip from a silent observer. Suspected evidence of the robbery was found and the suspect was taken to Kent County Jail.

Bank robbery charges have been filed. The suspect will be arraigned in the 63rd District Court later today.

Big Rapids Police: Weekly Blotter (7/5 - 7/12)

Wednesday, July 5

  • 40-2301269 @ 0743:
    • Found keys at Mitchell Creek Park and turned them into the department.
  • 40-2301270 @ 0926:
    • Found wallet turned into the department.
  • 40-2301271 @ 0944:
    • Found property on rails to trails. Property disposed of.
  • 40-2301273 @ 1100 - 800 block Water Tower Rd:
    • A female was arrested for punching a male in the back (Domestic Assault).
  • 40-2301274 @ 1308 - Fuller Ave / State St:
    • (PDA)
  • 40-2301275 @ 1700 - 200 block S Warren Ave:
    • Assist CPS stand by.
  • 40-2301278 @ 1837:
    • Officers picked up a subject from Lansing PD for their outstanding warrant.
  • 40-2301276 @ 1934 - 800 block Clark St:
    • A subject was transported to the ER for a mental health evaluation (Mental Health).
  • 40-2301277 @ 2117 - 600 block of S State St:
    • Driver arrested for his outstanding warrant (Traffic Stop).
  • 40-2301279 @ 2202 - 800 block N Fourth Ave:
    • The caller advised that two subjects were in an apartment. The tenant of theapartment stated that no one else was there and advised to check his apartment. No one else was found (Trespassing).
  • 40-2301280 @ 2204 - 1800 block Milton Ave:
    • A juvenile male reported a few of his PS4 games missing. The possible juvenile suspect was identified (Larceny).
  • 40-2301281 - 200 block E Pine St:
    • Two subjects were arguing and separated for the night (Civil).

Thursday, July 6

  • 40-2301282 @ 1324:
    • Subject transported to CMH for evaluation (Mental Health).
  • 40-2301283 @ 1400 - 800 block Water Tower Rd:
    • Possible embezzlement under investigation (Embezzlement).

Friday, July 7

  • 40-2301284 @ 0818 - 1100 block Fuller Ave:

    • Assist CPS during an investigation. Case turned over to MCSO for further investigation (Assist CPS).

  • 40-2301285 @ 1127 - N Michigan Ave / Maple St:

    • (PDA).

  • 40-2301286 @ 1106 - 300 block Morrison Ave:

    • Caller received a check from a person they met online and overdrew their account (Fraud).

  • 40-2301287 @ 1535 - 400 block S Third Ave:

    • Officers responded to an intoxicated subject chasing and threatening others. The subject was transported to the hospital and later lodged for several charges (Disorderly).

  • 40-2301288 @ 1920 - 700 block Perry Ave:

    • Officers assisted in handling a civil issue with a fired employee (Civil).

  • 40-2301289 @ 1100- 300 block W Pine St:

    • Walk-in complaint that had occurred in the past. Submited to City Atorney for review (Domestic).

  • 40-2301290 @ 2042 - 500 block W Bridge St:

    • (Civil).

Saturday, July 8

  • 40-2301291 @ 0639:
    • Caller observed 2 males atempting to enter vehicles. A description was given, and the suspects were identified (Tampering/Atempted Larceny from an Automobile).
  • 40-2301292 to 40-2301297
    • All calls related to the above call.
  • 40-2301298 @ 1911 - 600 block S State St:
    • A traffic stop led to a subject being arrested for his outstanding warrant out of Mecosta County.
  • 40-2301299 @ 2125 - Rust Ave / S State St:
    • Traffic stop led to the driver being arrested on an outstanding warrant out of Osceola County. Also was issued a citation for no insurance.
  • 40-2301300 @ 0340 - Maple St / S Michigan Ave:
    • Traffic stop led to the driver being cited for no insurance. The vehicle was impounded by Big Rapids Towing.

Sunday, July 9

  • 40-2301301 @ 0947 - 1800 block Milton Ave:

    • Subject was dropped off at uncle’s apartment after a domestic incident in Montcalm County. The other half came to the residence and forced his way through the door when it was opened. He was located by Greenville PD and arrested (Unlawful Entry/Domestic).

  • 40-2301302 @ 1036 - 300 block S Fourth Ave:

    • Subject was issued a citation for trespassing and arrested for probation violation (Trespass/Probation Violation).

  • 40-2301303 @1402 - 200 block Baldwin St:

    • Found property on the river walk.

  • 40-21301304 @ 1937 - S State St / Sanborn Ave:

    • (2 Vehicle PDA).

  • 40-2301305 @ 2122 - S State St / Ferris Dr:

    • Traffic stop led to the driver being issued a civil infraction for MIP Marijuana. A friend showed up to take him home.

  • 40-2301306 & 1308 @ 2239 - S. State St / Morrison Ave:

    • A traffic stop led to the passenger being issued a citation for allowing an uninsured vehicle to be driven on the roadway. The driver was arrested on a felony warrant out of Detroit and lodged at the Mecosta County Jail. Currie's towed the vehicle.

  • 40-231307 @ 2259 - 300 block W. Pine St:

    • The complainant thought she heard someone in her breezeway. Checked the area, yard, and garage but nothing was found (Suspicious Situation).

  • 40-2301309 @ 0225 - 800 block N. State St:

    • Employee called due to a disrespectful customer. The customer was upset he had to show his ID but didn’t have it with him (Suspicious).

  • 40-2301310 @ 0328 - Woodward Ave / Division St:

    • Traffic Stop at led to the driver being arrested for OWI 1st. She was subsequently arrested for OWI. Currie's towed the vehicle.

Monday, July 10

  • 40-2301311 @ 0958 - 435 N Michigan Ave:
    • Child custody issues (Civil).
  • 40-2301312 @1030 - 400 Elm St :
    • The subject was arrested for possession of Meth (Assist Probation/Parole with Trunarc Testing).
  • 40-2301313 @ 1344 - N Warren Ave / E Pine St:
    • (2 Vehicle PDA).
  • 40-2301314 @1426 - 700 block Perry Ave:
    • Employee had property that belonged to the store. He agreed to return the property (Civil).
  • 40-2301315 @1726 - 400 block Woodward Ave:
    • Related to Saturday’s complaints (Larceny from an Automobile).
  • 40-2301316 @ 1958 -  1300 block Catherine St:
    • Verbal argument, no crime occurred (Civil).
  • 40-2301317 @ 2103 -  N. Fourth Ave / Baldwin St:
    • Traffic Stop led to the driver being issued appearance citations for no insurance and expired license. Big Rapids Towing towed the vehicle.
  • 40-2301318 @ 2203 - N. State St / West Ave:
    • Traffic Stop led to the driver being issued an appearance citation for improper plate and unregistered motor vehicle.
  • 40-231319 @ 2236 - Milton Ave / N Dekrafft Ave:
    • Traffic Stop led to a passenger being arrested for outstanding warrants.
  • 40-2301320 @ 2259 -  S. State St/Ferris Dr:
    • Traffic Stop led to the driver being issued a citation for no insurance.
  • 40-2301321 @ 2324 - State St / Pere Marquette St:
    • Traffic Stop led to the driver being issued appearance citations for DWLS 1st and no insurance. Currie's towed the vehicle.

Tuesday, July 11

  • 40-2301323 @ 0847 - 800 block N Fourth Ave:

    • Juvenile postal worker flagged down officers after a juvenile told her she was home alone with siblings. Parent was at the residence (Check Wellbeing).

  • 40-2301322 @ 0956 - 435 N Michigan Ave:

    • Subject needed a report to replace a passport that was lost in Chicago (Lost Property).

  • 40-2301324 @1232 - 1100 block N State St:

    • Found bike.

  • 40-2301325 @1341 - 1400 block E Elm St:

    • Assist APS in an investigation (Assist other Department).

  • 40-21301326 @ 2300 - Water Tower Rd / Perry Ave:

    • A traffic Stop led to the driver being cited for no insurance and arrested for an outstanding warrant.

  • 40-2301327 @ 2326 - 800 block Country Way:

    • Complainant called and stated her next-door neighbor came into her residence and took her TV remote and an unknown amount of alcohol. Under investigation (Larceny).

  • 40-2301328 @ 0259 - 1700 S. State St:

    • Complainant was in a previous domestic dispute that the Sheriff’s Office handled. He stated the deputies dropped him off with approximately eight bags. He met an unknown man and stated he might have taken one of his bags in his room and could not get it back. Officers received consent to check the room, but the bag was not in there. The investigation is ongoing (Larceny).

Wedesday, July 12

  • 40-2301329 @ 0911 - 400 block S Michigan Ave:

    • Suspect identified (B&E).

  • 40-2301330 @ 1016 - 200 block Gilbertson Ave:

    • The complainant found her car window broken but still in place and her belongings still in the vehicle (Suspicious).

  • 40-2301331 @ 1315 - Parkview Village Apts:

    • Cellphone that had been lost ended up being stolen. A suspect has been identified (Larceny).

  • 40-2301332 @ 1348 - 1300 block Colburn Ave:

    • Traffic Stop resulted in the driver being arrested for OWI, child endangerment, and no license.

  • 40-2301333 @ 1641 - 700 block S State St:

    • Wedding ring lost near marathon (Lost property).

  • 40-2301336 @ 2248 - 1000 block Rose Ave:

    • The complainant stated that a male yelled at them and banged on their door. A search of the area was completed. He was not located (Disorderly).

  • 40-2301335 @ 2122 - 800 block Country Way:

    • Officers responded to assist a female having a mental health crisis (Mental Health).

  • 40-2301334 @ 2116 - 400 block S Michigan Ave:

    • Officers responded to check the well-being of a subject. He was fine (Check Wellbeing).

Ferris State University President Bill Pink Named by Gov. Whitmer to Growing Michigan Together Council

Ferris State University President Bill Pink is excited to play a key role in helping to shape the state’s future as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer named him to one of the four working groups of the Growing Michigan Together Council.

Pink and Henry Ford College President Russell Kavalhuna are the higher education workgroup chairs for the 28-member council. Whitmer announced the new council last month, and charged it with identifying how to grow the state’s population and strengthen educational outcomes while funding necessary infrastructure.

“I am truly excited to represent Ferris State University while collaborating with some of the brightest and best people we have in Michigan dedicated to ensuring a great future for our great state,” Pink said. “We know there’s a lot of work ahead. But we also know Michigan’s future is at stake. And, we know how much that means to millions of Michiganders.”

Pink is tasked with co-chairing the higher education work group but is interested in the full scope of what the Growing Michigan Together Council will do, and in seeing how education can be a large part of the plans.

Other workgroups are focused on pre-K-12 education, infrastructure and jobs, and talent and people. 

Pink just completed his first year as Ferris’ 19th president, and is the first African American to hold that position. Pink was previously president of Grand Rapids Community College.

Whitmer, who has tapped Pink to serve on a number of state and regional educational boards, sought expertise from a wide group of leaders for the council.

“The Growing Michigan Together Council’s appointees will bring a diverse range of skills, experiences, and perspectives to the table,” Whitmer said. “Led by four workgroups, the council will hold several meetings over the next few months, hearing from Michiganders firsthand. They will then collaborate and continue working towards presenting a comprehensive strategy to help anyone make it in Michigan. Together, we will grow our economy and population and write the next chapter in Michigan’s story. Let’s get it done.”

Whitmer in 2019 appointed Pink to serve on the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and in 2021 asked him to serve on the Student Recovery Advisory Council, a group that studied how to help students get back on track after the pandemic. She also reappointed him to the Midwestern Higher Education Compact, a regional board focused on providing higher education opportunities.

Pink is the past chair of United Way of West Michigan and vice chair of The Right Place, a West Michigan economic development organization. He also is an American Council on Education Board of Directors member, has served on the Spectrum Health West Michigan board, and has chaired the Heart of West Michigan United Way board.

Also named was Kingsford’s Marty Fittante, CEO of InvestUP and a Class of 1988 graduate of the College of Business.

To learn more about the Council, visit their new website: https://growingmichigan.org.

Ferris State Hockey Standouts Compete In NHL Development Camps

A pair of Ferris State University men's ice hockey standouts, forward Bradley Marek (Big Rapids) and goaltender Noah Giesbrecht (White Rock, B.C.), earned invitations and competed in National Hockey League (NHL) Development Camps this past week.

Marek took part in the San Jose Sharks' development camp while Giesbrecht competed for the Philadelphia Flyers in their development camp following the recent NHL draft.

This past season, both individuals played a key role in helping FSU to the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) Semifinals. Marek ranked as one of Ferris State's top scorers with 18 points on eight goals and 10 assists in 37 contests while Giesbrecht tallied a team-high 11 wins in net while starting 26 of his 33 appearances. He finished the year with 775 saves and a .906 save percentage.

This year marked the second consecutive year in which Marek has taken part in a NHL Development Camp. He previously took part in the Arizona Coyotes camp in 2022.

Both Marek and Giesbrecht are part of a strong returning nucleus for Ferris State Hockey entering the 2023-24 season.

NHL Development camps run throughout July and include practices and scrimmages, with most open to the public.

Muskegon River "Trash Bash" set for August campaign

For the last decade, groups of volunteers have been coming together to clean up one of Michigan’s longest river systems.

For the whole month of August, the Muskegon River Watershed Assembly, or MRWA, is hosting a clean-up event for teams to better the river’s ecosystem.

“It originally started between the city of Evart, myself and a group of volunteers almost 10 years ago,” Coordinator Sarah Himes said. “It was a group of maybe 20 to 30 people for one day, just cleaning up a small section of the river to now asking volunteers to clean up 290 miles of this river and tributaries. It's just great to see how much it has grown over the years.”

Last year’s event included over 280 participants and almost 2,000 pounds of garbage removed from various parts of the Muskegon River.

This year, registered teams can sign up and pick up trash throughout the entire month of August. The main kickoff event, “Jerry’s Annual Muskegon River Clean Up” event, takes place on August 5 at 9 A.M. at the Bridgeton Boat Launch. Team registration and location claims can be made up until July 31.

“Some people use it as a family get together,” Himes said. “They grab their two friends, their kayaks and they just have fun for however long they want. Not only that, but they have a chance to win prizes.”

Some of these prizes include a video contest, in which every team has the chance to submit a video of their clean-up experience to win 200 dollars. There are also some smaller prizes up for grabs including kayaks.

“It's not based on how much garbage you pick up,” Himes said. “It's the fact that you're going out there and doing something that's great for the environment. So, if you end up just picking up a couple of bags of garbage, that's super helpful. If you decide that you want to fill an entire garbage container full of garbage, that is awesome.”

For more information on the event, visit mrwa.org/trashbash.

MDOT names Gregg Brunner as new COO

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has named Gregg Brunner as chief operations officer (COO), succeeding current MDOT Director Bradley C. Wieferich. Brunner has served as the acting COO since December 2022 and brings more than 24 years of experience and leadership with the State of Michigan to his new permanent role.


"Gregg has continually shown strong leadership for our department," Wieferich said. "He's a respected leader in the transportation industry who has put strong emphasis on the safety of workers and the traveling public. I look forward to continuing to work with him as we deliver an innovative and reliable transportation program."

In addition to his responsibilities as acting COO, Brunner has been the director of the Bureau of Field Services since 2019. As the bureau director, he oversaw MDOT's statewide maintenance and construction, research program, emergency response, traffic and safety, Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) program, safety and security operations, and the autonomous and connected vehicle program.

 

Brunner has been a long-time traffic safety advocate, currently working alongside industry partners as the co-chair of the Work Zone Safety Task Force and serving as a commissioner on the Governor’s Traffic Safety Advisory Commission. He serves on the Michigan Liaison Committee for the innovative design and construction of the Gordie Howe International Bridge and helped deliver Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s $3.5 billion Rebuilding Michigan program. As a leader in MDOT's knowledge transfer initiatives, he implemented a structured knowledge management program for maintenance staff, offering recurring foundational training to ensure department staff access to continual education.

Throughout his career Brunner has presented strong leadership qualities, holding positions as Blue Water Bridge administrator, associate region engineer - operations, Bay City Transportation Service Center manager, and Bay Region bridge engineer. He's an MDOT Director's Award recipient and is active with the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO). Prior to coming to MDOT, he worked for private industry as a design engineer.

Brunner has a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from Michigan State University and is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Michigan.

Reed City Police: Weekly Blotter (7/3 - 7/9)

Monday, July 3

  • Officers took a complaint of nude images being exchanged between a juvenile and possibly an adult through an online app. The matter is under investigation.
  • An officer was dispatched to an ATM alarm, upon arrival, a technician was working on the machine.
  • An officer assisted OSCD with a call of a suspicious person in a home. After searching the property, nothing found.

Tuesday, July 4

  • An officer responded to a call of a dog running loose. The caller was referred to animal control.

Wednesday, July 5

  • Officers were requested to stand by to keep the peace during a child custody exchange.

Thursday, July 6

  • An officer responded to a call regarding some vandalism done in the bathroom of Westerburg Park. Still under investigation.
  • An officer responded to a call about a trespassing complaint. It turned out to be a mental health matter.
  • An officer transported an individual picked up for a warrant by Newaygo Sheriff's Department. The 23-year-old woman was lodged at the Osceola County Jail.

Friday, July 7

  • An officer responded to a two vehicle crash. There was minor damage and no injuries reported.
  • Officers were given a found RC car remote. If you have lost one, contact the Reed City Police Department to identify the model and type.
  • An officer answered a call regarding an abandoned car. The vehicle was marked with a tow notice.
  • An officer took a report for shop lifting. The matter is under investigation.

Saturday, July 8

  • Officers took a report of possible child abuse. The matter was unfounded.
  • Officers were dispatched to a report of threats. Upon investigation, it was not a matter of threats but a disagreement between friends over money being lent and the lender wanting to be paid back.
  • An officer, while patrolling, located a car in the park after closing hours. The man was advised of the park hours and moved on.

Sunday, July 9

  • An officer responded to a family dispute call. No issues.

  • An officer arrested an 18-year-old male with an outstanding warrant after a domestic dispute call was made. No issues.

Barryton man hits multiple trees in car accident

On Monday, July 10, at approximately 8:00 P.M., deputies from the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office responded to a single vehicle accident at Taft Rd and 20th Ave in Sheridan Township.

The accident occurred when a 56-year-old male from Barryton went off the roadway, side swiped a tree and then hit another tree head on. The male received non-life-threatening injuries and was transported to McClaren Hospital in Mt. Pleasant.

Deputies were assisted by Mecosta County EMS, Barryton Fire and Rescue, and Meceola Central Dispatch. 

Mayor Guenther gives latest "State of the City" address

The following is the recently released State of the City Address by Big Rapids Mayor, Fred Guenther. 

 

The City of Big Rapids has had a great 2022-2023 year. The finances are strong, the projects are many, and people seem to be enjoying getting back to regular life after COVID-19.

The Hemlock Park project is nearing completion; our basketball, tennis, and pickleball courts along with the kayak launch are finished and operating. We are waiting for final approval so we can put the Splash Pad out for bids and Playscape Park is being actively studied.

Our new City Attorney is Brad Fowler from the Mika Meyers Law Firm in Grand Rapids and he has hit the road ready to go. Carla Staffen has become our City Treasurer. Both are great additions along with Michelle Stenger of Neighborhood Services and Steve Gove who has been hired for Communications and Public Relations.

Big Rapids housing issues remain a concern, but Rust Avenue lots are available and the Mechanic Street infrastructure is complete with home building scheduled to start soon. The H Jing Commission has done a great job. Director Mark Sochocki retired in June; he will be greatly missed but We wish him the best in his future endeavors. Linda Miller has replaced him as Director. Many developers are interested in Big Rapids if the battery plant becomes a reality.

Gotions' battery component plant is still in the works. The City will be asked for water, sewer, and fire assistance if needed. We understand the community is greatly divided on this issue.

The huge issue of the 2020 Census and Revenue Sharing problem we had has come to a positive ending. The City filed for an adjustment for our "Group Quarter" facilities (our college dorm students), which were not included because of COVID-19. We won the appeal so our revenue should go back up in July. Thank you to all involved in making this happen.

We have been approved by the FAA and MDOT to expand our airport runway. An environmental study is underway and engineering is proceeding for start-up next spring.

The Ives Drain project has started and is being carried out with safety measures in our neighborhoods being employed by the contractor. MDOT has paved most of our major roads. After some additional work on issues on North State Street, we hope to have the rest of the paving done soon. Our city is looking more welcoming and safe.

Last fall our outstanding Veteran's Day Parade was honored to have a flyover by a Coast Guard helicopter. Winter brought our holiday celebrations downtown that were amazing as usual.

This spring we celebrated Ferris State's two National Football Championships with a snowy parade. Our 2nd Annual Pride Festival in June was even better than the first. Our streets have been busy this summer with a great car show, AirFest, and Farmer's Markets every Tuesday and Friday, with many more events scheduled. 

Keep your eyes on the "City of Big Rapids" Facebook page to see what else is happening in our beautiful city.

In closing, I'm hopeful that we can all pull together to make Big Rapids an even better place to live, work and play.

Mecosta County Sheriff's Office: Weekend Blotter (7/7 - 7/9)

Friday, July 7

  • At 1401 hours, deputies made a warrant arrest at a residence in Aetna TWP. A male subject was arrested on two felony warrants out of Calhoun County.

  • At 1421 hours, deputies responded to a domestic at a residence in Millbrook TWP. A male subject was arrested and lodged at the Mecosta County Jail.

Calls for Service: 23

Car/Deer Accidents: 1

 

Saturday, July 8

  • At 1743 hours, deputies responded to a retail fraud complaint at a business in Big Rapids TWP. A female had stolen around $100 worth of merchandise from the store. Additional investigation led to the identification of the suspect. Deputies made contact with the suspect. The stolen merchandise was recovered and the suspect was given an appearance ticket.

Calls for Service: 15

Car/Deer Accidents: 1

Traffic Accidents: 1

 

Sunday, July 9

  • At 1212 hours, deputies made a traffic stop on 120th Ave. and 15 Mile Rd. in Colfax TWP. The traffic stop led to the male driver being arrested on a warrant.

  • At 1848 hours, deputies responded to a domestic, at a residence in Big Rapids TWP. A female was arrested for domestic assault. She was lodged at the Mecosta County Jail.

Calls for Service: 12

Car/Deer Accidents: 2

Big Rapids Police Announce National Night Out 2023

On Tuesday, August 1st, the residents of Big Rapids and the surrounding
communities are being invited out to join forces with thousands of communities nation wide for
the “40th Annual National Night Out” (NNO) crime and drug prevention event.

National Night Out, which is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW) and co-sponsored locally by the Big Rapids Police Department, will involve over 16,400 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities, and military bases around the world. NNO 2022 corporate sponsors are Associa, Starbucks, ADT, and L.E.A.D. (Law Enforcement Against Drugs and Violence).

National Night Out is designed to: (1) Heighten crime and drug prevention awareness; (2)
Generate support for and participation in, local anticrime efforts; (3) Strengthen neighborhood
spirit and police-community partnerships; and (4) Send a message to criminals letting them
know neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

From 5 to 8 P.M. on August 1st, residents from Big Rapids and across the nation are asked to
lock their doors, turn on outside lights, and spend the evening outside with neighbors and
police. NNO will be held in downtown Big Rapids on Michigan Ave. The street will be closed off
from Pine St. to Elm St. for the event. There will be games, prizes, music, free food, and much,
much more! Best of all, the entire event is free to all who attend.

If you have any questions, please call Community Relations Officer William Sell at 231-527-
0005.

Dave Murray Named Ferris State University's Associate Vice President for Marketing and Communications

Dave Murray is planning to leverage his 30 years of experience in journalism, state government and higher education communications to share the Ferris State University story as the new associate vice president for marketing and communications.

Kathy Mullins, Ferris vice president for Advancement and Marketing, said Murray has a track record of success and will use his experiences and relationships to build upon the university’s already strong marketing and communications efforts.

“Dave is passionate about higher education, and sharing stories that inspire others to start or restart an education that can change their lives,” Mullins said. “Ferris State University has a great story to tell. Dave will help us tell it to an even wider audience, connecting with potential students and stakeholders.”

Murray, who begins at Ferris on Monday, July 17, has been Grand Rapids Community College’s communications director since 2018, overseeing a team that has earned more than 50 regional and national awards.

He previously worked in state government, serving as deputy director for communications for the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development. He coordinated communications efforts for four state agencies, working to boost career-focused programs and build a talented workforce.

He served as Gov. Rick Snyder’s deputy press secretary and press secretary from 2013 to 2016, serving as administration spokesman and working with state, national and international media.

Murray was a reporter, editor and community engagement specialist for the MLive Media Group and The Grand Rapids Press from 1999 through 2013, covering education and the state Legislature, after covering education for The Flint Journal for 10 years.
Murray at Ferris will oversee teams that cover marketing, public relations, crisis communications, web content, graphic design, photography, video and more.

Murray had opportunities to work closely with Ferris throughout his career, and was impressed by the university’s heritage, its work today and its potential to reach more people.

“Ferris State University has a proud history and a bright future,” Murray said. “Ferris creates tremendous opportunities for students in Michigan and beyond. I’m proud to be part of the team entrusted to tell the stories of Ferris students, people and programs. Our mission is to reach out to potential students of all ages, share the Ferris story and help them connect with the education they need to enhance and even transform their lives.”

At GRCC, Murray oversaw external and internal communications, media relations, social media, marketing and content creation for digital and print communications. The portfolio mirrors the team he will join at Ferris, which includes 10 full-time employees and close partnerships with marketing and communications specialists across the university system.

Murray earned a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri School of Journalism in 1986 after he received an Associate of Arts from Nassau Community College in 1984.

Michigan expanding weatherization program to help residents of multifamily affordable housing lower their utility bills

Low-income residents of multifamily affordable housing will benefit from an expanded Weatherization Assistance Program provided by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

The MDHHS Bureau of Community Action and Economic Opportunity has expanded its weatherization services to include a service provider focusing on multifamily affordable housing with five or more units after the department received additional federal funding.

The expansion means low-income people living in these multifamily units will gain access to the benefits of energy efficiency efforts and health and safety upgrades – providing weatherization services to hundreds of additional families.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program is designed to reduce energy costs for low-income households while ensuring their health and safety. MDHHS administers the funding in Michigan. As part of the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding, MDHHS received approximately $183 million for the Weatherization Assistance Program, providing the opportunity for the expansion. These funds, issued in 2022, will be used in addition to the approximately $21 million received annually.

“MDHHS wants to help Michigan residents pay their energy bills,” said MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel. “Weatherizing your home is a good way to reduce energy costs, prevent you from falling behind on paying for your utilities, and keep your family healthy. I am so pleased that we have been able to expand the Weatherization Assistance Program to assist more people.”

Through a competitive process, MDHHS selected ICAST (International Center for Appropriate and Sustainable Technology), a national 501c3 nonprofit, as the new provider. ICAST has a history of nationally scaling weatherization, beneficial electrification, and renewable energy solutions for multifamily affordable housing properties. 

ICAST plans to begin working with eligible providers starting October 2023. It is currently developing the infrastructure and processes through select pilot projects, said Ravi Malhotra, president of ICAST. “We are honored and thrilled to bring our expertise and experience to Michigan and serve its residents who are most in need of lowering their utility bills and health care costs through weatherization services,” he said.

More information is available at www.icastusa.org.

Saving the memories of veterans through the love of cars

During his 23 years of service, Reed City native Russ Nehmer lost 56 of his “brothers in combat” in Afghanistan. Not only that, but Nehmer almost lost his life himself.

After sitting in a hospital bed, one thought began to go through Nehmer’s mind that he’ll never forget.

“I was thinking about back home,” Nehmer said. “If I died, the only veteran’s memorial we have in Reed City is at the courthouse. And it's just a little tiny thing.”

Returning to Reed City after retirement from Army Special Forces in 2016, Nehmer began devising an idea to build a veteran’s memorial park on a paper drawing. He would go on to pitch the idea to his dad, a county commissioner at the time, in which it received a thumbs up.

“You need to take this to city hall and the city council,” Nehmer recollected. “They loved the idea and told me to go forth and try to get funding for it.”

This led Nehmer to brainstorming ways to make the park possible. The location of the park would be at the crossroads of both US-10 and US-131 highways near the Hersey River.

The only problem: finding funding for the park. Nehmer began to think of ways to raise money, which led to a hobby he had participated in for many years.

“I was like ‘why don't I start a car club? My uncle is also a car enthusiast. He's got a lot of old cars and he and I started working together. And that's kind of where it went. I started the Reed City Crossroads Car Club and then started doing a car show.”

According to Nehmer, the first show was actually too successful. The amount of participation maxed out the parking lot at what is now known as the Cub Scout Center. It was then a friendly tip from the mayor and the city Police Chief that gave Nehmer the chance to hold the next show on downtown Upton Avenue.

After city approval, Nehmer enlarged the car show on Upton Avenue and will now be entering its fourth year coming up on Saturday, July 15. Over the past four years of fundraising, Nehmer says the car shows have raised over 20,000 dollars for the new park.

This year’s show will likely include over 100 cars as well thousands of dollars in raffle prizes from over 105 total sponsors for the event.

“When I’m posting things on this (show), people are like, ‘when's it gonna come?’ ‘We want this to happen.’ People are anxious and they think it's something that's beneficial for the community. It's a remembrance for those that have passed and those that we've lost.”

Nehmer said he is optimistic for funding this year and believes the project will be completed soon.

The park is slated to be completed in five stages, with the first being a trail resurfacing proposal on the Westerburg and Rambadt Park connecting “Purple Heart” trail so that anyone can reach the memorial on a more usable and accessible surface.  The following stages would include putting in brick pavers, a new memorial flagpole, and surrounding benches near the memorial site.

This project could also be supported by a 4-million-dollar state grant proposition, which is currently being reviewed.

“Until we get into those phases, it's hard to do a timeline until we know about the grant,” Nehmer said. Right now, we need to know when the state is going to complete the grant process. It could be in the next couple of months. We're just keeping our fingers crossed. But as soon as we know, we'll let the public know.’

This weekend’s show has free admission, including voted awards and raffle prizes. The show begins at 10 A.M. while judging starts around noon.

For more information on the show, visit the “Event Calendar” tab at bigrapidsdailynews.com.

Findings on $1.5 Billion Broadband Investments to be Shared Statewide

The Michigan High Speed Internet Office (MIHI) is gearing up to complete the final 10 stops of the statewide MI Connected Future Tour which is aimed at collecting input from Michigan residents on how best to prioritize the $1.5 billion federal BEAD funding the state will receive to deliver affordable, equitable and reliable high-speed internet service throughout the state.  

“Our MIHI Office is excited to begin the final leg of this very ambitious tour to ensure we tackle any obstacles that stand in the way of getting Michigan citizens connected to affordable, high-speed internet,” said Susan Corbin, director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. “We encourage residents to attend one of the final tour stops near them to provide input and feedback on the findings the MIHI team has identified thus far.” 

During the first portion of the tour, MIHI gathered community input and feedback about the internet needs which are most important to the state’s communities, especially topics like affordability, accessibility, digital skills development and access to internet enabled devices.  

The next 10 stops of the tour aim to present MIHI’s findings and provide a high-level overview of the draft Michigan Five-Yea Action Plan and Michigan Digital Equity Plan, which was written based on feedback from the initial stops of the tour. Attendees will be able to provide their thoughts in the form of an official public comment on the findings before the final Michigan Five-Year Action Plan and the Michigan Digital Equity Plan is created. 

"The MIHI team is looking forward to providing the public with an overview and findings from the first 31 stops of the MI Connected Future tour,” said Eric Frederick, chief connectivity officer for the Michigan High-Speed Internet Office. "We are listening to every community at every stage of this tour to ensure the MIHI team provides a comprehensive Michigan Five-Year Action Plan and Michigan Digital Equity Plan that fits the unique needs of all Michiganders.” 

The MIHI team will be visiting each prosperity region of Michigan to present the draft plans starting the week of July 10. Residents are encouraged to attend a stop nearest them and provide the MIHI team input and feedback. 

Final tour stops include: 

Escanaba:?July 11, 5-7p.m., Bay College, JHUC 952 Conference Room, 2001 N Lincoln Road, Escanaba, MI 49829 

Petoskey:?July 12, 5-7p.m., Emmet County EMS, 1201 Eppler Road, Petoskey, MI 49770 

Fremont/Newaygo: July 18, 5-7p.m., Newaygo County RESA, Multi-Media Room, 4747 W 48th Street, Fremont, MI 49412 

Atlanta:?July 20, 5-7p.m., Atlanta Senior Center, 11780 M-33, Atlanta, MI 49709 

Beaverton:?July 25, 5-7p.m., Beaverton Junior/Senior High School, Cafeteria, 3090 Crockett Road, Beaverton, MI 48612 

Sandusky:?July 27, 5-7p.m., Westpark Inn, 440 West Sanilac Road, Sandusky, MI 48471 

Okemos:?August 1, 5-7p.m., Okemos Event Center, 2187 University Park Drive, Okemos, MI 48864 

Three Rivers:?August 2, 5-7p.m., George Washington Carver Community Center, 436 Jefferson Street, Three Rivers, MI 49093 

Howell:?August 9, 5-7p.m., Cleary University, 3725 Cleary Drive, Howell, MI 48843 

Detroit:?August 10, 5-7p.m., Focus: Hope, 1400 Oakman Blvd., Detroit, MI 48238 

Learn more about the next leg of the MI Connected Future Tour and register to attend at Michigan.gov/MIConnectedFuture

Ferris Alumna, Big Rapids Native Tara Braun Named Office of International Education Executive Director

Tara Braun is returning to Ferris State University as its executive director of the Office of International Education. An alumna, former staff member and area native has accepted the office’s executive director position and begins on Monday, July 10.

Braun grew up in Big Rapids as the daughter of College of Engineering Professor Larry Wagner before earning a Bachelor of Science in Business and a Master of Science in Career and Technical Education from Ferris. She later earned a doctorate in Higher Educational Leadership from Central Michigan University. Braun returns to Ferris from Calvin University, where she was its director of international admissions and immigration.

In previous roles with Ferris’ Office of International Education, Braun was the study abroad manager and was abroad manager and international admissions and immigration coordinator.

“I have received so many greetings and well wishes from my friends on Ferris’ campus, along with peers in international education,” Braun said. “I feel great excitement as I return because of my connections and what I see is real potential for growth in the international student community.”

Braun is the co-founder and chair of Study Michigan, a consortium promoting international education at the state’s two and four-year colleges and universities. She is also active with NAFSA: The Association of International Educators. With the experience of visiting over 30 countries globally in a nearly 20-year career, Braun hopes to bring her track record of steady international enrollment growth at Calvin and positively impact learning on Ferris’ campus and abroad.

“Ferris has great potential in the international market. We can sell the stature of our academic programs and variety of degree paths,” Braun said. “We will also encourage the faculty to resume or explore Study Abroad programs so that any student can build on their worldview and apply that knowledge to their professional intentions.”

Jennifer Hegenauer, the executive director of Research, Planning and Assessment in Extended and International Operations, said Braun’s passion will be an asset to the Office of International Education.

“Her excitement was evident from the beginning, with Study Abroad,” Hegenauer said. “Since then, Tara has consistently expanded her knowledge in all aspects of international education, prioritizing student experiences in her work. Returning to Ferris, she brings even greater expertise, valuable connections, and knowledge that will benefit the entire university community.”

Click Office of International Education for more information about the department and its services.

 

Rep. Kunse invites residents to local office hours in Reed City and Clare

State Rep. Tom Kunse, of Clare, announced he will host local office hours in July in Osceola and Clare counties.

The meetings take place at the following times and locations:

 

Saturday, July 15 (coincides with the Reed City Car Show): Reed City Depot; 4:30 P.M. – 5:30 P.M.; Pere Marquette Trl., Reed City

 

Friday, July 21: Cops and Doughnuts; 9 A.M. – 10 A.M.; 521 N. McEwan St., Clare

 

No appointments are necessary to attend office hours. Those who are unable to attend but would still like to share their thoughts with the representative may call his Lansing office at (517) 373-7317 or email TomKunse@house.mi.gov.

Kunse represents the 100th House District, which includes Mecosta, Osceola, and parts of Lake and Clare counties.

M-66 culvert replacement starts Monday in southern Mecosta County

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is investing approximately $3 million to replace two aged culverts on M-66 between County Line Road and 2 Mile Road in southern Mecosta County.

According to MDOT, the project near Six Lakes is slated to begin on Monday, July 10 and will be completed around October.

 

 

M-66 will be closed and detoured using N. County Line Road, Costabella Avenue (W. County Line Road) and M-20. Local traffic will be maintained at all times.

Based on economic modeling, this investment is expected to directly and indirectly support about 36 jobs.

The new culverts have a higher capacity and will replace the original structures from the 1920s.

 

 

For up-to-date traffic information on this project and others throughout the state, go to www.Michigan.gov/Drive.

 

Portion of State Street to Have Sewer Line Replacement

Starting Monday July 17th, a section of North State Street in the City of Big Rapids will be closed to allow for the replacement of a sewer main.

Webel Stabilization Inc., based in Hart, MI, is partnering with Big Rapids Public Works to complete the project. The closure will extend from Pine Street to Maple Street.

Heather Bowman, the Public Works Director, has explained the neccesity of this project. 

"Following an assessment conducted through the Stormwater, Asset Management, and Wastewater (SAW) grant, it was determined that the State Street 12-inch sewer main was in critical condition. While we understand that this will cause a major inconvenience to the citizens of Big Rapids, it is vital for the safety of our community and the proper upkeep of our infratructure." Bowman said.

During the construction period, a detour will direct traffic to Maple Street, Dekrafft Avenue, and Baldwin Street Bridge.

Spruce will also be available to route traffic north on State Street.

The sewer main work is anticipated to be finished by August 4th.

Mecosta County Sheriff's Office: Weekly Blotter (7/2 - 7/6)

Sunday, July 2

  • At 2021 deputies responded to a threats complaint in Sheridan  TWP. Female was threatened by a male subject. The male subject was arrested on a warrant. He was lodged at the Mecosta county Jail.

Calls for Service: 16

 

Monday, July 3

  • Nothing reported.

Tuesday, July 4

  • At 1058 hours, deputies responded to a domestic assault complaint at a residence in Green TWP. A female was arrested for assaulting another female at the residence. The female was lodged at the Mecosta County Jail.
  • At 2051 hours, deputies made a warrant arrest at a residence in Mecosta TWP. A female was arrested on a warrant. She was lodged at the Mecosta County Jail.

Calls for Service: 18

Traffic Accidents: 2

 

Wednesday, July 5

  • At 1124 hours, deputies made a warrant arrest at a residence in Aetna TWP. A male subject was arrested on several warrants. He was lodged at the Mecosta County Jail.

  • At 1441 hours, deputies responded to a domestic at a residence in Mecosta TWP. A male subject was arrested for domestic assault. He was lodged at the Mecosta County Jail.

  • At 1610 hours, deputies responded to a domestic at a residence in Martiny TWP. A female subject was arrested for domestic assault. She was lodged at the Mecosta County Jail.

Calls for Service: 14

Traffic Accidents: 2

 

Thursday, July 6

Calls for Service: 20

From Patients to Pedals, Ferris State University Alumna, Former Student-Athlete Paving the Way in Off-Road Cycling

Paige Onweller (‘11) came to Ferris State University as an indoor/outdoor track and field and cross country runner, pursuing a degree in Nuclear Medicine Technology. She took her degree and became a physician assistant, a career she had for eight years.

That was until a new passion came to the forefront.

“I started biking in 2020 and got recruited through something called Zwift, which is like E-sports,” said Onweller about getting her start in cycling. “I was recruited by a pro team at that time because they saw my power numbers on that platform, and I started racing competitively online.”

However, the curiosity of racing outside on a real bike took over.

“If I can learn how to ride my bike outside, I wonder if I can compete professionally,” said the Lapeer native.

She eventually found a race that worked within her busy schedule between her weekends working in the E.R. and urgent care. Her first race was in 2021, where she placed fifth.

“I basically just started racing at a very high level very quickly and was recruited to other professional teams,” Onweller said.

Now over the last few years, she has continued to train, improve and race all over the country resulting in some big wins and an even bigger life change.

“I ended up winning Big Sugar, and I placed ninth in the Life Time Grand Prix, which is one of the largest off road American circuits for the U.S. and that was exciting,” Onweller said. “And I was able to land some better contracts to be able to race full-time.”

Those contracts and sponsors, like her ones with Trek, SRAM, Abus, HED, WTB, Good Life PT and Sports Performance, and Voler, were the final push for the Ferris alumna to leave her job in the medical field to pursue cycling, professionally.

“To be honest, the decision was quite easy, at least initially,” said Onweller, reflecting on leaving her job at Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids. “And I think that’s because I was burned out. I think a lot of us in medicine are, especially after COVID. It came down to, go work these grueling shifts in medicine, where you’re not appreciated and you’re burned out, or go ride bikes for a living for a couple of years.”

Taking advantage of the time and opportunity she had felt right, especially when she has her degree and work experience to fall back when she decides to hang up the helmet and put away the bike. But that does not come without some doubt that trickles in every now and then, and that’s why she wrote her ‘future self’ a letter to keep the goal in mind.

“I’ve had a lot of setbacks this season. Just a couple of bad mechanicals and races,” said Onweller. “I’m pouring a lot into this, and then you get to a race and you end up with a flat tire or a mechanical problem that puts you on the side of the road and then basically like you’re questioning it. I gave up my job to get a flat tire at mile 20 of a 100 mile race? So that’s why that letter was important just to remind myself, this is a decision you made and here are the reasons why.”

Regardless, the P.A. turned pro is trekking on. Onweller is the middle of her 2023 season with races in Tennessee, Michigan, Colorado and more. She hopes to continue to set the example of following your dreams and paving the way for other women cyclists.

“Whether it’s quitting their day job and riding bikes, or pursuing pursuing professional sports, or any other life change, I think  you just have to follow your gut and you have to have an understanding of what drives you personally,” Onweller added. “If there’s something that you’re passionate about and you have that opportunity, you have to ask yourself, in 20 years, will I regret turning this down? And that’s what I asked myself.”

“I’m trying to inspire other people,” Onweller said. “You can ride bikes at a very high level, even if you start in your 30’s. I’m trying to help close the gender disparity and get more females on bikes.”

Discipline is the name of the game at the level she competes at now. She credits her experience at Ferris as the building blocks to her competitive drive and dedication to her craft.

“My time at Ferris was instrumental because I was not only pursuing a fairly difficult degree, I was also a three season athlete,” Onweller said. “I had to be very regimented because I had a grueling schedule between my internship and races, and so that time that Ferris taught me, you can do this.”

You can follow along with Paige and her continued journey of cycling on her Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/paigepowered/) or her blog (https://www.paigepowered.com/).

Two vehicle accident near Canadian Lakes leaves multiple people injured

On July 5 at approximately 5:45 P.M., deputies from the Mecosta County Sheriff's Office responded to a two vehicle accident near the intersection of 6 Mile Rd. and 135th Ave. in Austin Twp.

The accident occurred when a 49-year-old female from Stanwood was changing lanes and was struck by a vehicle driven by a 65-year-old male from Big Rapids.

The male received minor injuries and was transported to Corewell Hospital in Big Rapids. The female was uninjured but one of her passengers received minor injuries and was released at the scene.

Deputies were assisted by Morton Twp Rescue, Mecosta County EMS, and Meceola Central Dispatch.

Big Rapids Police: Weekly Blotter (6/27 - 7/4)

Tuesday, June 27 

  • 40-2301227 @ 0956 - 600 block N. State St:
    • Standby while caller retrieved property after being evicted (Civil).
  • 40-2301229 @ 1409 - 700 block Perry Ave:
    • Check of wellbeing.
  • 440-2301228 @ 1527 - 200 block Baldwin St:
    • The business received a suspicious piece of mail. Unknown who sent it (Suspicious).
  • 40-2301230 @ 1750 - 435 N. Michigan Ave:
    • The complainant wanted to report a fraud over a fraudulent rental listing in Grand Rapids. No money was exchanged. Advised the complainant to monitor her credit and file a criminal complaint if fraud is found on her credit report (General Information).
  • 40-2301232 @ 2154 hours - 700 block Osceola Ave:
    • Officers contacted a person in a vehicle at Osceola Park. He had a felony warrant and a misdemeanor warrant out of Mecosta County
      and was arrested and lodged at the Mecosta County Jail (Warrant Arrest).

Wednesday, June 28

  • 40-2301233 @ 1343 - 300 block Fuller Ave:
    • Male and female had a verbal disagreement loud enough to be heard by a passerby. They both stated it was verbal only (Civil).
  • 40-2301235 @ 1926 - 800 block Water Tower Rd:
    • Animal found and taken to ARC. Owners later contact officers and were advised where their dog was taken to.
  • 40-2301236 @ 2119 - 800 block N Fourth Ave:
    • The complainant stated that his ex-girlfriend and he are having issues. He did not want to have any more contact with her (Civil).
  • 40-2301237 @ 0209 - 600 block Ives Ave:
    • Caller stated that her daughter and her friends had left the residence. The juveniles eventually came back and were spoken to.

Thursday, June 29

  • 40-2301238 - Swede Hill Park:
    • Found property, while on patrol a wallet was found in Swede Hill Park. Owner identified and contacted.
  • 40-2301239 @ 2322 - 800 block Water Tower Rd:
    • Sent to Prosecuting Atorney for review (Assault).

Friday, June 30

  • 40-2301240 @ 0743 - 1000 block Maple Ave:
    • Building secure (Alarm).
  • 40-2301241 @ 1043 - 4th Ave/Madison St:
    • Traffic stop for expired plates resulted in the driver being issued a citation for no insurance. Currie's took the vehicle.
  • 40-2301242 @ 1108 - Northland Dr/205th Ave:
    • Traffic stop resulted in the driver being arrested on multiple warrants.
  • 40-2301244 @ 1758 - 1100 block Catherine St:
    • Custody dispute between parents (Civil).
  • 40-2301245 @ 1832 - S Michigan Ave/Elm St:
    • One driver was transported for precaution (PIA).
  • 40-2301246 @ 2124 - 600 block Maple St:
    • Failed to pay.
  • 40-2301247 @ 2143 - 300 block Fuller Ave:
    • Owner was given a warning for barking dog (Noise Complaint).
  • 40-2301248 @ 0056 - 100 block S Michigan Ave:
    • Subject was found to be suffering from a mental
      health crisis. They were transported to the ER for an evaluation (Disorderly).

Saturday, July 1

  • 40-2301249 @ 1554 - S. Third Ave:
    • Several items were located behind the substatioon on S. Third Avenue (Litering).
  • 40-2301250 @ 2228 - 1000 block Loudon St:
    • Sent to Prosecuting Atorney for review (Assault).

Sunday, July 2

  • 40-2301252 @1054 - 100 block W Bridge St:
    • (Mental Health.)
  • 40-2301253 @1233 - 500 block Linden St:
    • The subject was transported to ER for a voluntary evaluation (Mental).
  • 40-2301254 @ 1950 - 400 block Maple St:
    • Complainant called because his brother refused to leave (Complainant).
  • 40-2301255 @ 2123 - 600 block Maple St:
    • Suspect identified (Fail to Pay).
  • 40-2301256 @ 2234 - 100 block S. Stewart St:
    • Complainant saw lights in the museum
      basement. An officer spoke with staff and they were allowing a ghost hunting tour (Suspicious).

Monday, July 3

  • 40-2301258 @1025 N. Fourth Ave/E Madison Ave:
    • Subject contacted and found to be in violation
      of his conditional release (Bond Violation).
  • 40-2301259 @1357 - 435 N Michigan Ave:
    • Complainant thought his ex had fraudulently
      registered a vehicle in his name. Investigation revealed that they bought the vehicle together six months before splittng up (Suspicious).
  • 40-2301260 @ 1834 - 1100 block Catherine St:
    • Child custody issue (Civil).
  • 40-2301262 @ 21:33 - 300 block N State St:
    • Traffic Stop led to the driver being arrested for an outstanding warrant. The vehicle was towed by Currie's.
  • 40-2301264 @ 2236 - Catherine St/Speer St:
    • Traffic stop led to the driver being arrested for his outstanding warrant.
  • 40-231263 @ 2255 - 600 block Maple St:
    • Traffic stop led to the driver being issued a citation for no insurance.
  • 40-2301265 @ 0000 - 100 block S. Stewart Ave:
    • Argument over pictures being sent (Civil).

Tuesday, July 4

  • 40-2301268 @ 2306 - Jackson St/N. Fourth Ave:
    • Traffic stop led to the driver being arrested for OWI. The vehicle was towed by Big Rapids Towing.
  • 40-2301267 @ 2311 - Maple St. / S. Warren Ave:
    • Traffic Stop led to the driver being arrested for OWI under 21. The vehicle was towed by Currie's.

First Ferris State Women's Basketball & Softball Joint Golf Outing Set For Aug. 11

The Ferris State University women's basketball and softball squads have teamed up this summer for a golf outing set for Friday, Aug. 11, at Katke Golf Course on the FSU campus.

Alumni, fans and friends along with the community are invited out for the joint golf outing with proceeds going to support both programs.

The action begins on Aug. 11 at 10 a.m. (ET) and online registration is available at this direct link below or visit FerrisStateBulldogs.com for additional details.

https://fundraise.givesmart.com/form/Ri8mOw?vid=z1qx1

The cost for the outing is only $100 per player, which covers 18 holes of golf and cart, lunch along with a post-round reception. Foursomes are preferred as the event is expected to sellout, but singles can be accommodated with early registration.

Bulldog student-athletes will be on the course throughout the day with fun games and interactions to brighten the golfers' days.

Along with the outing registration, tee sponsorships are available for $125 with an on-course engagement sponsorship $200 and a corporate tee sponsorship for $500, which also includes a foursome. Additionally, a foursome with on-course engagement sponsorship package is $550.

For additional questions and information, please contact Cedric Frierson at (231) 679-9852 or via email at: CedricFrierson@ferris.edu.

Visit this link to sign up now!
https://fundraise.givesmart.com/form/Ri8mOw?vid=z1qx1

Reed City Police: Weekly Blotter (6/26-7/2)

Monday, June 26

  • An officer was dispatched to an apartment complex with reports of someone dumping trash illegally. After investigating, it turned out that it was a resident’s trash. No issues were found.
  • An officer was dispatched a city parking lot to take a report on a vehicle fire. While the owner was in a restaurant, wiring in the center console caused a small, contained fire that went out on its own.

Tuesday, June 27

  • An officer responded to a call in regards of possible stalking actions. After talking to both parties, they all understood. No issues were found.
  • An officer was dispatched to a residence in reference to a noise complaint. Upon arrival, the complaint was unfounded. No issues were found.
  • While patrolling, an officer observed a couple of residences that were in violation of the city's grass ordinance of six inches. Abatement notices have been served.

Wednesday, June 28

  • An officer assisted Michigan State Police with traffic control at a minor one vehicle crash.
  • Officers took a report of illegal dumping of trash at an apartment complex.
  • An officer was dispatched to an address involving an individual violating his conditional bond release. The matter was unfounded.

Thursday, June 29

  • An officer was dispatched to a business for a triggered alarm. Upon arrival, all points of entry were checked and everything was secure. No signs of forced entry were found.

Friday, June 30

  • Officers responded to a fire alarm. It was found to be a malfunction in the alarm system.

Saturday, July 1

  • Nothing reported.

Sunday, July 2

  • Officers were dispatched to a medical facility for a belligerent and intoxicated patient. The patient had been discharged and officers stood by until a ride was arranged.

  • Officer stopped a vehicle for an expired plate. It was determined the vehicle had no insurance coverage. The driver was issued an appearance citation and the vehicle towed.

  • Officers were dispatched to check on a juvenile walking with no shoes in a non residential area. It was determined the teen has an argument with his sibling and was walking to his uncle’s house. The officer gave him a ride to his uncle’s house.

  • Officers were dispatched to a complaint of fireworks being lit.

Sheriff Miller "hopes to educate" with new hands-off driving law

As of Friday, June 30, Michigan’s new “hands-free” driving law is now in effect. This means drivers cannot hold onto or use a cell phone while operating a vehicle.

After the first weekend of having the law in place, Sheriff Miller says the department saw an expected amount of enforcement through the first three days.

“I think everything is right where it has been,” Miller said. “I think it's going to be more of a gradual thing that you will see when it comes to enforcement and when we have to take action and write citations.”

According to the State of Michigan, the first violation of this new law brings a $100 fine and/or 16 hours of community service. The second violation is upped to a $250 fine and/or 24 hours of community service. If someone breaks the law a third time within a three-year period, they must complete a driving improvement course. Fines also can double if a traffic accident occurs while the driver was using a device.

The biggest discrepancy with this law is many believe the law only applies when a vehicle is in motion. This is not true. According to the State of Michigan, the law can be enforced when a vehicle “is in operation.” In this case, stopping at a stop sign or traffic light does not exclude the driver from the law.

“I think that's what is really going to be the importance and what needs to be stressed with individuals,” Miller said about the discrepancy. “You may think you are just at a stoplight and can check til the light turns green. That is still a violation.”

With the new law in place, Miller hopes that this time can be valuable in teaching the public about the cause and safety.

“I'll be honest, I think everybody has been guilty at some point or another of having handheld devices and having them in use in their vehicles. I know it's been an issue and I think it's coming more to the forefront now. I think the big thing is to educate the public first and foremost to make sure that the public is all aware of the changes. Then, take the enforcement action when necessary.”

For more local news and updates, subscribe to the Big Rapids Daily News at wbrn.com.

Mecosta County kidnapping suspect taken in custody

The Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday evening that a wanted suspect has been taken into custody following a reported kidnapping.

During late hours on Sunday, July 2, deputies received a report of an adult female being forced into a vehicle by a 35-year-old Mecosta County resident. The suspect then fled the area and released the victim on the side of the road approximately an hour and a half later in northwestern Mecosta County.

With the help of a BOL through Mecosta County dispatch and additional information about the suspect and the vehicle, deputies were able to locate the suspect and vehicle at a residence in southeastern Montcalm County. Following obtaining search and arrest warrants, Mecosta and assisting Montcalm County deputies were able to search the residence, locate the suspect, and talk the suspect out of the residence with help by negotiators of the Newaygo County Emergency Response Team. The suspect was taken into custody without further incident and lodged at the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office on multiple charges.

The suspect was known by the victim and was wanted at the time on two felony charges. The female victim had been picked up by a passerby and returned to her residence with minor injuries.

The Mecosta County Sheriff's Office was assisted in the investigation by the Montcalm County Sheriff's Office, Newaygo County Sheriff's Office Emergency Response Team, Meceola Central Dispatch, and the Michigan State Police. The identity of the suspect is being held pending formal arraignment in the 77th District Court.

US-131 at M-46 re-opened following incident

An accident in Montcalm County caused Exit #120 on SB US-131 to be closed at 4:46 P.M. on Monday.

According to an update by the Michigan Department of Transportation, all lanes of traffic were cleared and re-opened around 5:10 P.M. yesterday.

There were no details released on the incident.

DHD#10 Promotes MDHHS Plan First Family Planning Program

District Health Department #10 (DHD#10) is promoting the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ (MDHHS) Plan First Family Planning Program’s (Plan First) expanded access to family planning services, beginning on or after July 1, 2023. 

 

General Information 

The Plan First program benefit is limited to family planning services only. The Plan First family planning program covers a broad range of family planning services which includes U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved contraceptive products and natural family planning methods for individuals who want to prevent pregnancy and to space births. It also includes pregnancy testing and counseling, sexually transmitted infection (STI) services, and other preconception health services. 

 

Plan First Program Eligibility 

Individuals eligible under the new family planning group are individuals: 

  • Who have income at or below 195% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) under the Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) methodology; 
  • Of any age or gender; 
  • Who are not pregnant at the time of application; and 
  • Who are a resident of the state of Michigan and meet Medicaid citizenship requirements. 

 

Covered Services 

The Plan First program includes the following covered services: 

  • Office Visits: 
    • Family planning services, including preconception counseling, contraceptive counseling, and physical exams 
    • Preventive services, including annual wellness exams, preventive screening, counseling, and vaccines, including Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and Hepatitis B 
    • Diagnostic procedures, counseling, and follow-up visits to diagnose and/or treat an STI or STI-related condition identified or diagnosed at a family planning visit 
    • Counseling for the prevention, screening, and diagnosis of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and hepatitis 
    • Treatment of pre-cancerous conditions which commonly originate from an STI 
    • Basic diagnostic infertility services, including infertility counseling 
    • Treatment of major complications related to family planning services and family planning-related procedures  
  • Laboratory Services: 
    • Pregnancy testing 
    • Screening for cervical cancer 
    • Screening and counseling for STIs, HIV/AIDS, and hepatitis 
  • Pharmaceutical Services: 
    • All FDA approved methods of contraception supplies and devices to prevent or delay pregnancy 
    • Over-the-counter contraceptives and supplies, such as condoms, spermicides, and sponges 
    • Pharmaceuticals to treat an STI or STI related condition identified or diagnosed at a family planning visit (other than HIV/AIDS or hepatitis) 
  • Sterilization Procedure Services: 
    • Voluntary sterilization surgical procedures and follow-up care provided in accordance with Medicaid program coverage. 

 

Non-Covered Services 

The Plan First program does not cover the following: 

  • Abortions 
  • Treatment of infertility, such as drugs or artificial insemination 
  • Reversal of voluntary sterilization 
  • Hysterectomies for sterilization 
  • Treatment, including pharmaceuticals, for conditions not related to family planning, such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, or hepatitis 
  • Inpatient hospital services 

 

For more information about MDHHS’ Plan First Family Planning Program, please visit: https://www.michigan.gov/mdhhs/assistance-programs/healthcare/adults/planfirst.  

MDHHS recommends Michiganders and visitors avoid foam on waterbodies

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is reminding Michigan residents and visitors to avoid foam on Michigan waterbodies such as lakes, rivers and streams.

Foam can form on any waterbody. Natural foam is usually off-white and/or brown, often has an earthy or fishy scent and tends to pile up in bays, in eddies or at river barriers such as dams.

Sometimes foam can contain harmful chemicals or bacteria. This can include high levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS-containing foam is usually bright white in color, lightweight and may pile up along shores or blow onto beaches. Some studies in people have found that that repeated high PFAS exposure is linked to liver damage and thyroid disease, among other health effects.

If you come in contact with any foam, MDHHS recommends you rinse off or bathe as soon as possible. According to current science, the risk of PFAS entering the body through skin contact is low. However, coming into contact with foam without rinsing off or bathing can lead to accidentally swallowing foam or its contents.

“We advise you to avoid contact with foam if you can, but if you accidentally come into contact with foam, you should rinse off as soon as possible,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive. “Rinsing off in general after water activities is always a good idea.”

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) also recommends that people do not allow their animals to come into contact or swallow foam on waterbodies. Animals are at risk of swallowing foam built up in their fur when grooming themselves. If animals do come into contact with foam, they should be rinsed off and bathed with fresh water. Pet owners with questions related to animals and foam ingestion should contact their veterinarian.

Anyone with questions about exposure to PFAS or foam can call the MDHHS Environmental Health hotline at 800-648-6942. More information is available on the MPART website.

Ultimate Mega Monster Truck Tour coming to Morley this weekend

As part of the Morley Celebration on the Pond, fans can experience a once-in-a-lifetime event on Saturday, July 8.

The Ultimate Mega Monster Truck Tour event brings “car crushing, heart-stopping racing, gravity-defining wheelies, and jaw-dropping freestyle performances.” The event begins at 7 P.M. at Celebration Acres on 555 6th Street Morley, MI 49336.

Cost for admission is $20 per person with free entry for children aged five and under. Gates open at 4 P.M. for all attendees. There are also opportunities for attendees to ride in a truck for an additional fee as well as meet and greet the drivers and compete in the "Tuff Truck Competion."

For online tickets and more information, visit morleycelebration.eventbrite.com.

MDOT installs "Hands-Free Device Use" signs along state lines and border crossings

Effective last Friday, June 30, Michigan became the 26th state in the U.S. to adopt hands-free device legislation, placing strict implications on drivers found to be using cell phones without the use of hands-free technology.

To support this new legislation, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will begin installing Hands-Free Device Use signs at 37 locations along state line and border crossings. Installation will begin this week and is expected to continue through the summer until all signs are placed. In addition to trunkline signs, MDOT’s dynamic message sign (DMS) boards will include reminders of the new law. The following message will be displayed on all DMS boards moving forward:

"NEW MICHIGAN LAW
NO HANDHELD DEVICES
WHILE DRIVING"

Texting while driving has been illegal in Michigan since 2010, but increasing the parameters of the law to prohibit the use of cell phones without hands-free technology is expected to further improve safety for all road users, including passengers, pedestrians, and road workers.

“This legislation is a welcome addition in the fight to reduce roadway fatalities and injuries,” said State Transportation Director Brad Wieferich. “Improving safety for our road workers is a top priority for the department, and these new laws will help to ensure that our roads and work zones are protected from distracted driving.”

Additional information regarding this legislation and the penalties associated are available through the Michigan State Police Office of Highway Safety Planning website at www.Michigan.gov/DistractedDriving.

*Image provided by Michigan Department of Transportation

MDHHS hosting three, free virtual baby showers in July for new or expecting families

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is hosting three virtual baby fairs for new or expecting parents in July. At the events, families will have opportunities to learn about available resources, important health and safety information and ask questions directly to program experts.

The events are free of charge and occurring on the following dates and times:

  • Wednesday, July 12, from 9 to 11 A.M.
  • Monday, July 24, from 9 to 11 A.M.
  • Wednesday, July 26, from 6 to 8 P.M.

The following MDHHS programs are participating in this event:

  • Care for MiWell
  • Newborn Screening
  • Michigan BioTrust for Health
  • Infant Safe Sleep
  • Women, Infants, & Children (WIC)
  • Immunizations
  • Early Hearing Detection and Intervention
  • Birth Defects Education and Outreach
  • State Breastfeeding Initiative
  • Childhood Lead Prevention Education
  • Vital Records
  • Michigan Home Visiting Initiative
  • Maternal Infant Health Program
  • Children’s Special Health Care Services
  • Eat Safe Fish
  • Unintentional Injury Prevention
  • Oral Health Program
  • PFAS Education

Participants can register for one of these sessions online.  For questions related to this event or to request baby fair resource materials as a printed document, please email MDHHS-VirtualBabyFair@michigan.gov.

Event schedule and information announced for Freedom Fest Fireworks

The schedule of festivities has been released for the Freedom Fest Fireworks Show coming up on July 3 at the Mecosta County Fairgrounds and Roben Hood Airport.

Main admission will be open starting at 6 P.M. for parking. Food trucks and the National Guard tailgate will also be open at 6 P.M. at their respective locations through the entire duration of the event. The cost for general parking is $5 at each gate.

Starting at 7 P.M. will be a live music session by the band “Hand of Giants” at the fairgrounds. The show will last until 9 P.M. For kids, face painting and balloon twisting activities begin at 6 P.M. as well as glow stick sales and yard games scheduled around 9 P.M.

The main pyrotechnic fireworks show is slated to begin around 10:20 P.M., with patriotic music provided by the Big Rapids Media Network. Vendors and parking will be closing at 11 P.M. following the conclusion of the show.

Locations for each activity goes as follows:

Fairgrounds Main Parking (off West Ave)

  • Hand of Giants live music
  • Mom and Pops
  • Happy Jacks Kettle Corn
  • Couyon’s Cajun Café
  • Toinette Wicks' face painting

Sheridan Avenue Parking (across street from Fairgrounds)

  • Detroit Sibling Rivalry BBQ
  • Marlie’s Mixers

Airport Parking (off Northland Drive)

  • LumberJill Concessions
  • Waffle Stix
  • Kona Ice
  • National Guard Tailgate
  • Katy Bee’s balloon twisting
  • Big Rapids Media Network

No open flames, sparklers, alcohol, or safety hazards are permitted in the areas. Please be mindful and aware of children, as people will be moving around frequently.

Schad Tabbed Michigan Optometric Association Educator of the Year for Scope of Instruction, Student Involvement

Dr. Jennifer Schad, an associate professor and the interim chief of Primary Care Services for the Michigan College of Optometry of Ferris State University, was honored as the Michigan Optometric Association Educator of the Year at the Great Lakes Eyecare Conference in Rochester.

Schad took a humble perspective when considering her MOA award.

“The recipient must be a practicing optometrist, a member of the association and part of the MCO faculty,” she said. “I am honored that our third-year students recognized my qualifications, but the real reward is my experiences with dedicated students who make the most of each opportunity in preparing to join our profession.”

Schad is an MCO alumna and brings a range of learning and experience to her role as an instructor, with the distinction of holding an Associate of Applied Science degree in Pre-Optometry, a Bachelor of Science in Vision Science, a Master of Healthcare Administration with an executive concentration and her Doctor of Optometry degree, all earned on the Big Rapids campus.

“I practiced in a large ophthalmology group and had experience with a national commercial optical practice,” Schad said. “During that time, I developed a proficiency for the billing and coding required by government and private insurance. I was intrigued by how they directly impact the economics of eye care practice. It brought me to earn my MHA degree, where Dr. Gail Bullard and the MHA program faculty helped me take those skills to the next level and enhance my teaching.”

Schad said she is not unique among her MCO peers, with clinical and classroom instruction roles.

“Leading didactic and patient-focused clinical education is simply part of the reality for faculty in a professional college of our size,” Schad said. “I am glad to have developed skills that support teaching our Practice Management curriculum.”

Her lecture and clinical involvements are with second-to-fourth-year MCO students, but Schad noted fresh energy at the college each fall.

“With each new cohort of 36 students, it is easy to recognize and benefit from their pursuits and development as they master their abilities and prepare as professionals,” Schad said. “I see them in some courses after their first year, where they strive for excellence in offering clinical care and build their skills to forge a successful career.”

Beyond her faculty role, Schad is an advisor for Ferris’ chapter of the Beta Sigma Kappa International Optometric Honor Society and mentors students in MCO’s Michigan Optometric Student Private Practice Association.

“Beta Sigma Kappa is an honor society, emphasizing scholarly research and supporting academic excellence,” Schad said. “The MOSPPA chapter is a very active group, also involved with collaborative learning through eye care practice management experts and industry partners, to broaden their understanding before entering their careers.”

Schad said the MOSPPA recently held its Great Lakes Private Practice Conference at Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, where students were focused on upholding the association’s goals in an academically demanding season.

“This conference really brings students important ‘tips from the trenches,’” Schad said. “It was our first chance to offer the event in several years. Those third-year students who organized the conference offered a valuable gathering and dialogue, managing to do this while they prepared for and completed their National Board examinations.”

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Weather

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 @ Tri County

Lakeview @ Morley Stanwood

Kent City @ Newaygo

Grant @ Reed City

C Montcalm @ White Cloud

 

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 @ Newaygo

Grant @ Reed City

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

This Week's Poll

What place will the Tigers finish in the AL Central?