Local News

Just an Observation...

Hastings City Manager Jeff Mansfield is leaving his position as city manager of the City of Hastings in a couple of months. I think he is likely way undervalued for the work he’s done, for his foresight and years-long efforts for the future of growth in Barry County.


Your grandchildren can thank him and guys like Jim Carr for the natural beauty of the county that will still be here in 25 to 50 years.


But, there’s a big if in there. That’s if current and future officials recognize the groundwork put in place, working with others, and years of effort to control commercial and industrial development in a logical way and out of the natural areas in our county.


I’ve known Jeff since the late 1980s, but I don’t know anything about him. He never offers, I never ask. I know he’s a Yooper, and married, only because he mentioned his wife is from Delton a couple of months ago.  And, I know he has at least one child, a son I met reporting on a science project at Hastings High School years ago.


That’s it.


Jeff will tell you he is open and transparent, but he is neither about anything outside of his position as city manager for Hastings. He will go into great detail to provide an accurate description of a city issue, some say too detailed, but for some reason it never gets personal, and he’ll go over it again if you don’t get it.


If you are a reporter and want to go up in the Freeport Fire department bucket to get an amazing photo of the first massive crowd at the Barry Roubaix, you can ask Jeff. He’ll say no. Liability.


You ask former Mayor Frank Campbell, he’ll help you onto the platform and push the button to send you up. And, you get the picture.


But, if you want a guy who will tell upset city higher ups that he said it was okay for me to take a photo of kids playing ice hockey on a Fish Hatchery pond, when they were angry and all ready to come after me, Jeff is your guy.


Jeff sees the humor in anything a little ahead of anyone else. I’m told he has a flaming temper, but all I’ve ever seen is a quick, deep reddening of his face once or twice and a really quick tightening of the jaw.  I don’t think I’d want to see more, either.


He has always been more than fair with me, generous with information, makes fewer mistakes than I do, and is an incredibly hard worker. After 30 some years, it's going to be different with Jeff leaving the city for other pursuits.


The council cannot expect the next city manager to have the depth of knowledge Jeff has of the city, its inner workings, his expertise in planning and zoning, legal issues to do with city government and the command he has of the million small threads that keep a city sewn together.


He will be greatly missed by the city and I will miss him for the help he has given me for years.  But, I still don’t know much about him. My best to you in whatever you decide to do next, Jeff.



Cops vs. Teachers basketball game to benefit diabetes research; honor Star School Elementary third grader

Cops vs. Teachers is a charity basketball game to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation helping to find a cure for the childhood disease, Type 1 diabetes.


It’s a fun evening with a serious purpose, the Hastings Area School System teacher’s team will play their hardest against area law enforcement, sponsored by the Hastings Police Department.

Cost at the door on Wednesday, April 10 is $5, tee-shirts are $17 and will be on sale to raise more for the cause.


Doors open at 5 p.m., tip-off is at 6 p.m. at Hastings High School, 520 West South Street in Hastings. All proceeds will be donated to Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in honor of Nolan Lucas.


Nolan is an eight-year-old, third-grade student in Brynlee Carlton’s room at Star Elementary. Nolan smiles a lot and is very soft spoken. Honoring him and raising money for the JDRF at the third annual charity Cops vs Teachers game was suggested by Star School Counselor Megan VanWyk.


Nolan was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when he was six years old. It’s a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin, a hormone needed to allow sugar to enter cells to produce energy, Nolan and many like him, need help to raise fund to find a cure.


Leah and Nick Lucas are parents of Nolan and little sister Addison, 5. Nolan is excited, but a little shy about the attention he is getting,  but  “he can handle it,” Mom says. Leah is a social worker at Central Elementary and Nick is fleet mechanic at the Pepsi Company.


Central and Star Elementary are holding “penny wars" to help Nolan raise money. The class in each school that raises the most pennies will win a pizza party with Hastings Police Sgt. Kris Miller.

Nolan eyes light up at the idea of a pizza party, he’d like to win that. He’s not sure if he will play any basketball at the benefit game, or if he will be in the tip off, though Miller says he might be.


The funds collected from sponsors, tee-shirt sales, donations and the gate at the door will be presented at the conclusion of the game to JDRF team member Jillian Breneman by the Lucas family.

“JDRF works tirelessly to find better treatments, preventions and ultimately, a cure for type 1 diabetes (T1D) and its complications through critical research. Every dollar we are able to direct toward this research comes from donors. Your generosity fuels real progress toward a world without T1D,” its website says.


The win-loss record in the Cops vs Teachers contests is 0-2 with the teachers holding the winning record. “We’re hoping this is the year,” Miller said.


Sponsors so far include Total Health Center, Spencer’s Towing, Edward Jones, the Coves, FlexFab Inc., M-43 Auto, Priority Collision, Miller Real Estate, Detail Dr. and Laser Wash, Tripp & Tagg Law Offices, Bradley Ortega & Family, Thornapple Credit Union, Southside Pediatrics, BailTek, Pepsi Grand Rapids, Bellabay Realtors-KellyBrown. //                                                          


Diabetes can’t be cured, but it can be managed, according to the following information from the Mayo Clinic. Type 1 diabetes in children is a condition in which your child's body no longer produces an important hormone (insulin). Type 1 diabetes in children used to be known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes.


The diagnosis of type 1 diabetes in children can be overwhelming at first. Suddenly you and your child — depending on his or her age — must learn how to give injections, count carbohydrates and monitor blood sugar. Type 1 diabetes in children requires consistent care, but advances in blood sugar monitoring and insulin delivery have improved the daily management of the condition.


The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown, but in most people with the disease, the body's immune system, which normally fights harmful bacteria and viruses, mistakenly destroys insulin-producing (islet) cells in the pancreas. Genetics and environmental factors appear to play a role in the process.


Insulin performs the critical job of moving sugar (glucose) from the bloodstream to the body's cells. Sugar enters the bloodstream when food is digested. Once the islet cells of the pancreas are destroyed, your child produces little or no insulin. As a result, glucose builds up in your child's bloodstream, where it can cause life-threatening complications.


While there's nothing you could have done to prevent your child's type 1 diabetes, you can help your child prevent its complications by helping your child maintain good blood sugar control as much as possible.


Teach your child the importance of eating a healthy diet and getting regular physical activity and schedule regular visits with your child's diabetes doctor and a yearly eye exam beginning no more than five years after the initial diabetes diagnosis


The signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes in children usually develop quickly, over a period of weeks. Extreme hunger and unexplained weight loss is often the first sign of type 1 diabetes to be noticed in children. Other symptoms include increased thirst and frequent urination, fatigue, irritability or behavior changes, fruity-smelling breath, blurred vision, and yeast infection in girls.


See your child's doctor if you notice any of the signs or symptoms of type 1 diabetes.

Complications of type 1 diabetes develop gradually. If blood sugar levels aren't well-controlled over a prolonged period of time, diabetes complications can eventually be disabling or even life-threatening.


Complications can include heart and blood vessel disease later in life, nerve damage especially in child legs, which usually happens gradually over a long period of time, kidney damage, eye damage, skin conditions and osteoporosis as an adult. 


The Lucas family, dad Nick, mom Leah and children Addison and Lucas at the Hastings Police Department.



Gaines Township man missing since Monday

A Gaines Township man has gone missing after leaving his house on a bicycle Monday morning around 9 a.m., according to a Kent County Sheriff’s Office news release.


Russell Anderson, 56, routinely leaves his home on a bicycle to ride around the area looking for returnable cans. He has not been seen since he left home which is unusual according to family who said Anderson always returns home to care for his ailing father, police said.


Anderson was last known to be wearing an orange reflective vest and jeans. He was likely wearing a hooded sweatshirt of an unknown color. His bicycle was described as a mountain bike of an unknown make, model, or color.


Residents are encouraged to keep an eye out for Anderson and call 911 if he is located. Those with information pertaining to his whereabouts are asked to call 616-632-6339; anonymous tips can be called in to Silent Observer at 616-774-2345.




Family Promise plans Grand Opening in Hastings April 8

The Family Promise Network, a program that brings shelter, meals, and support services to homeless families, will celebrate a Grand Opening, complete with ribbon cutting, Monday, April 8 at 4 p.m. signaling its readiness to begin serving area families in Hastings.


The ceremony will be at Hope United Methodist Church at the intersection of M-37 and M-79 south of the city. “It’s been a long haul,” said Executive Director Martha Gibbons. “We’re very excited to start taking families.”


The hosting of homeless families rotates weekly among 11 Host Congregation area churches, with the possibility of 12 in the Network, where families are provided lodging, three meals a day and caring hospitality three or four times a year, she said.


Volunteers are essential to success and provide a wide range of services like cooking and serving meals, playing with children or helping them with homework, interacting with guests with respect and compassion and providing overnight security.  “The churches supply dozens of volunteers working behind the scenes,” Gibbons said.


Churches that may not have the space needed to be a Host Church, but can provide much needed volunteers, supplies and finances as Support congregations. Families in the program will be able to use a Day Center in the second floor of Hope Methodist Church from about 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, where the director, in this case Gibbons, provides case management services. Guests look for employment, tend pre-school children, shower and do laundry.


The Center gives guests a mailing address and a base for housing and employment searches. Many guests are employed during the day, while older children attend school, usually the school they last attended or the school closest to the Day Center.


The Family Promise Network has a van, donated by Broadmoor Motors in Caledonia, to transport guests to and from the Day Center. It may be used to collect donations and carry bedding and personal belongings to the next host congregation.


Facilities at the Day Center include a lounge area for families, a play area for children, a small room or cubicle for the director who will provide most of the supervision of the day center and showers and, if possible, a washer and dryer.


Host facilities include a lounge area with sofa, chairs, tables and TV, a dining area, a kitchen, bathrooms, and sleeping accommodations. Ideally, congregations provide a separate room, such as a classroom, for each family. If that isn’t possible, a fellowship hall or other large space will do.

Sleeping accommodations are dedicated to the families for the entire host week.


When guests arrive on Sunday, they come with their belongings and perhaps a few of their children’s favorite toys. They want to arrange their space as if it were their home.


The guest guidelines call for a maximum stay of 30 days. However, Network directors often extend the stay as long as families are making good-faith efforts to find housing. In some communities, families can find housing within 30 days. In other communities—where there is a severe shortage of affordable housing and waiting lists for public housing, finding a home can take 60 days or more.  In Networks, about 76 percent of the guest families find permanent housing, often with volunteers help.


Host congregations change every week or two, but the Day Center at Hope Methodist Church remains the same, providing a home base. Homeless families come through referrals from many places, Gibbons said. “We talk to the Barry County United Way, the schools, churches and individuals.”  


Family Promise is a nonprofit 501(c) 3, so funds are raised through grants and fundraising and from individuals, congregations, and corporations. Local or state foundations may also provide seed money.  As an organization for families in transition, Family Promise has more than 192 affiliates in 39 states and 6,000 congregations and 160,000 volunteers in the Networks.



Eaton County part of statewide tornado drill during Severe Weather Awareness Week

Michigan’s Severe Weather Awareness Week this year is March 24-30, with the annual voluntary statewide tornado drill Wednesday, March 27 at 1 p.m.

Tornadoes can and do occur in our area; in fact the last major tornado to hit Michigan was in Eaton County on April 22, 1977. Since 1950, there have been 25 tornadoes confirmed in Eaton County. 


Following the warning siren test, residents are strongly encouraged to fill out a form at the link  with your location and your observations.

These generated reports will be used to analyze our effective warning siren coverage.


Departments, businesses, organizations, families and individuals are encouraged to be a part of this statewide preparedness activity. Many communities in Eaton County will be participating by activating their outdoor warning sirens...   


“Eaton County Central Dispatch and Eaton County Emergency Management will take this opportunity to practice our procedures as if it were an actual tornado warning,” 911 Director Michael Armitage said.  In addition to participating in the drill, residents of Eaton County can also prepare by creating a Smart911 account and registering for emergency alerts at or  Residents can also register for alerts by texting the word EATON to 67283.


Central dispatch and emergency management wants to ensure that you and your family are adequately alerted by our warning siren system if and when dangerous weather conditions head our way this severe weather season. Therefore, we are asking for your help in assessing the effective range our warning sirens by submitting a status report..

Statewide Severe Weather Preparedness/Awareness Weeks are an opportunity to increase awareness of and response to severe weather hazards. They are scheduled throughout the spring, targeting a time before the spring severe weather "season" typically begins in that state. Most states also conduct a tornado drill during their awareness week, when test tornado warnings are issued at a predetermined time. Please mark your calendar and plan to participate in the drill for your local area, as this is an opportunity to test your communication methods as if it were a real situation.


For more information about being safe before, during and after a tornado, go to




Barry County United Way "Souper Victory Celebration" set for April 11

The Barry County United Way & Volunteer Center is hosting a 2018-2019 “Souper Victory Celebration” Thursday, April 11 at noon at the Barry Community Enrichment Center, 231 South Broadway in Hastings.




“By choosing to be the one…a child is performing better in school, a struggling family is back on their feet and a senior citizen was able to have a meal today.

“Join us for soup luncheon and award presentation as we celebrate the lasting change that has been created from you all choosing to be the one…It only takes one…thank you for choosing to be the one,” the BCUW invitation read. 


RSVP to 269-945-4010 or e-mail morgan@bcunited


Barry County begins move of Friend of the Court to Courts & Law building

A 2015 Barry County Master Facilities Plan recommended moving the Michigan State University Extension office out of the Courts & Law building and moving Friend of the Court (FOC) offices into the newly vacated space, along with other recommendations.


The MSEU office has been moved and now the County Commission is ready to begin the FOC move, recommending Commissioners Jon Smelker and Vivian Conner as an advisory committee of two to work with county staff and Landmark Design Group to prepare a plan and budget for the project.


The ad hoc committee, a system the county used in earlier construction projects that worked well, will help keep the project moving, provide a timeline and feedback to the commission on a regular basis, and keep the project on budget after the budget is determined, Administrator Michael Brown said.


Brown said the project had been talked about for several years but the court administrators at the time of the study were concerned there might not be enough room to move the FOC from 102 South Broadway into the vacated MSUE space. Reimbursement from the state also played a part in the delay.


The current court administrators believe there is enough space, “with not any extra,” Brown said. The goal is to keep the programs that function in the court system in that building, as well as those programs that have heightened security needs.


“More importantly…it’s just too important not to. To have all the staff in one location is a goal and propriety with them.”

The new Indigent Defense Department is in the Courts & Law building.


The committee will begin the process and bring back a recommendation to the board with a plan to actually move the FOC over, with a time frame, ultimately to get the project bid out, with at least some of it done internally, he said.


Other recommendations in the study, the renovations to the former Hastings Library building and moving the MSUE office there, and improvements to the Circuit Courtroom in the Barry County Courthouse, have been completed.


A new Barry County Jail and Commission on Aging building, also recommended by the study, are in the active planning stages.


In other business Tuesday, the commission recommended approval of the first budget amendment of 2019, that did not include any amendments that affected the bottom line of the General Fund, and approval of PA116 requests from Spring Creek Farms for parcels 18-16, 18-17 and 18-18 in Sections 2, 14 and 21 of Johnstown Township.

The commission is expected to act on the recommendations at its next meeting.


Is your child ready for kindergarten?

Is your child excited to start kindergarten this fall? Families are encouraged to attend Kindergarten Round Ups at their child’s school to prepare, according to a Barry-Eaton District Health Department (BEDHD) media release.


An important part of preparing for kindergarten is making sure kids are up to date on their immunizations. The health department wants to make sure that every child is protected before entering school in the fall.


“Immunization is the single most important way parents can protect their children, classmates and the entire community from serious disease,” said Jackie Anderson, RN, BEDHD’s immunization coordinator.


Thanks to vaccines, most of these vaccine-preventable diseases have become rare in the United States. However, when schools have low vaccination rates, these diseases can make a comeback. When this happens children can become very sick, leading to missed days of school and missed worked for parents.


To prevent outbreaks from occurring in schools and places where children congregate, a high percentage of children must be immunized. To protect all students enrolled in school, children who do not receive the required immunizations may be excluded from school if an outbreak occurs.


Before the first day of school a child entering kindergarten must have:

*4 doses of DTap (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis)

*4 doses of Polio

*2 doses of MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella)

*3 doses of Hepatitis B

*2 doses of Chickenpox (Varicella)


In addition to the required immunizations, the influenza (flu) and two doses of Hepatitis A are highly recommended.


If your child has not yet received all of the immunizations required for school entry, don’t wait. Take action now to get them protected before school begins. Make an appointment with your child’s doctor, or call the health department’s immunization clinic at 517-541-2630 in Eaton County or 269-798-4133 in Barry County.


If you are not sure if your child is up to date, please contact their doctor or the BEDHD immunization clinic to review their records.



Driving Information

Upon approaching and passing a stationary authorized emergency vehicle that is giving a visual signal by means of a flashing, rotating or oscillating red, blue, white or amber lights the driver of an approaching vehicle shall proceed with due care and caution.

On a public road with at least two adjacent lanes proceeding in the same direction of the emergency vehicle, the driver of the approaching vehicle shall proceed with caution, reduce  his or her speed by at least 10 miles per hour below the posted speed limit, and yield the right-of-way by moving into a lane at least  one moving lane or two vehicle widths apart from the emergency vehicle, unless directed by a police officer.

A driver who violates this is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more that $500.00, or imprisonment for not more that 90 days, or both.


The American Legion celebrates 100 years

In recognition of the 100th anniversary of the American Legion, Barry Wood, who has held many local, regional and state level positions in the American Legion organization, gave part of its history at the last Hastings City Council meeting. Parts of Wood’s presentation are highlighted here:


The American Legion was formed March 15-17, 1919, by combat troops of the American Expeditionary Forces in Paris, France. Weary and homesick, these American Legion founders restlessly awaited passage back to the United States and a return to their civilian lives after World War One.


As they waited, they had time to think about what they would do after discharge from support of their wounded comrades, to honor the fallen, to care for the surviving spouses and orphans, and to protect the democracy they pledged their lives to defend.


They envisioned a different kind of veteran’s association that would be like none before it, nor any that would follow; the American Legion would be built on strengthening the nation, not serving themselves, through four pillars of volunteer work on behalf of veterans, defense, youth and Americanism.


The early American Legion fought for creation of the U.S. Veterans Bureau in 1921, the Veterans Administration in 1930 and the Department of Veterans Affairs in 1989. In 1919, they organized an army of expert service officers to provide free health-care and benefits assistance to veterans and their families. In the 1920s they found jobs for hundreds of thousands of veterans and fed entire communities during the Great Depression.


egionnaires conceived, drafted and pushed to passage the GI Bill of Rights, legislation that changed the world, transforming higher education and home ownership for average Americans. The G.I. Bill built more than a half-century of economic prosperity, advanced civil rights, created the American middle class and became known as the most significant social legislation of the last century.


The Legion’s research helped countless veterans suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder and health problems related to atomic radiation, Agent Orange, Gulf War Illness, burn pits and other service-connected exposures to veterans.


Legionnaires have also proven uniquely well-suited to handle life-threatening catastrophes, fires, floods, tornados, mine disasters, superstorms and even a terrorist attack. Deadly hurricanes devastated countless homes and lives, and legionnaires responded quickly with tens of millions of dollars in grants from its National Emergency Fund. //


The Legion strengthened the nation by promoting education, good citizenship and respect for the U.S. flag. In 1923-1924, they established the first-ever standard rules of respect for the flag.

They worked with the National Education Association to keep kids in school, teach good citizenship, respect law enforcement, understand the U.S. government and appreciate the Constitution.


Out of these interests came many citizenship programs for immigrants like Boys State and Boys Nation, American Legion oratorical contests, Junior Law Enforcement cadet programs, a national youth baseball program, Junior ROTC programs, Boy Scout units and Junior Shooting Sports teams.


The American Legion was instrumental in the creation of the modern reserve component of the U.S. military and the National Guard, which have proven vital to American strength, especially in the War on Terrorism. Continuous advocacy for an effective defense system has built the strongest, and most responsible, military the world has ever known.

The American Legion Family, which grew to include the Legion Women’s Auxiliary, Sons of The American Legion and most recently, The American Legion Riders, has positively impacted tens of millions of lives.


New American Legion posts are taking shape on campuses across the U.S. to support student veterans using their Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. As new posts begin their journeys into the Legion’s second century, they inspire a renewed vision that is timeless and built to serve generations of Americans yet to come.


The Lawrence J. Bauer American Legion Post 45, chartered in 1919, appreciates the long-entrusted relationship with the City of Hastings and the surrounding community. We know this relationship will continue, Wood said.


Photo: Barry Wood



Barry County Sheriff's Office encourages boaters to "Keep Your Edge" this boating season

It may not feel like boating season yet, but Barry County Sheriff’s Office along with boating safety advocates nationwide, are urging boaters to #KeepYourEdge by enrolling in a boating education course this spring, according to a sheriff’s media release.


The sheriff’s office is participating in the national Spring Aboard – Take A Boating Education Course campaign, encouraging boaters to get educated prior to the kick-off of the boating season so they can make the most out of their time on the water.


A boating safety course provides critical boating knowledge that anyone who plans to get out on the water should have, and better prepares you for the risks you may face while boating. U.S. Coast Guard statistics indicate that of the accidents where the level of operator education was known, 81 percent of boating deaths occurred on boats where the boat operator had never received boating education instruction.


“Education is the key to having a safe and enjoyable day on the water,” said Sheriff Dar Leaf. “Even though the operator has the ultimate responsibility for the safety of the vessel, its crew and passengers, everyone who plans to be onboard should consider taking a boating safety course to prepare for their time on the water.


If a boater has taken a boating safety education course the likelihood of their time spent on the water being a safe and enjoyable experience is much greater. Spring is the perfect time to take a course before the summer boating season begins.”  


Those born on or after July 1, 1996 may legally operate a boat only if they have been issued a boating safety certificate and have it on board.

Those born before July 1, 1996 may legally operate a boat without restrictions.  Those at least 16 years of age and born after Dec. 31, 1978 may legally operate a PWC only if they have obtained a boating safety certificate.  


During the week of Spring Aboard, March 17-23, 2019, boaters are encouraged to take a boating education course if they have never taken one before, or to take a course as a refresher in order to prepare for the boating season ahead. Find out about more available courses by visiting or .


With today’s wide variety of courses available, from classroom courses to online offerings, there’s a course for every boater and every schedule. //


The Barry County Sheriff’s Office is partnering with the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) to inform boaters about the benefits and necessity of taking a boating education course. In Michigan,


The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators is a national nonprofit organization that works to develop public policy for recreational boating safety. NASBLA represents the recreational boating authorities of all of the U.S. states and territories.

Through a national network of thousands of professional educators, law enforcement officers and volunteers, NASBLA affects the lives of over 73.5 million American boaters.'s%20department&epa=SEARCH_BOX




Irish turn out for Hastings St. Patrick's Day Parade

Saturday afternoon was cold and windy but that didn't stop one of the rituals of late winter, while everyone waits for spring. The St. Patrick's Day Parade is billed as the biggest little parade of the year in Hastings, with everyone welcome to take part. No captions are needed for the photos that show some of the parade.










FDA issues three recalls Friday, check your shelves

The FDA issued three recalls Friday involving Pillsbury All-Purpose Flour, Butterball raw ground turkey and Monogram Meat ready-to-eat-pork sausage, according to a Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development media release.


The First Recall: The Hometown Food Company initiated a limited, voluntary retail-level recall on two specific lot codes of its Pillsbury® Unbleached All-Purpose 5 lb. Flour (UPC 51500-22241)because it may be contaminated with Salmonella. Only Best If Used By Dates APR 19 2020 and APR 20 2020 are impacted.

Roughly 12,245 cases of impacted Pillsbury® Unbleached All Purpose Flour product were distributed through a limited number of retailers and distributors nationwide.   The only product lots affected by the recall are as follows:

Item Name

Case Item Code

UPC Item Code

Lot Code


Pillsbury® Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

0 5150022241 3

0 5150022241 6

8 292

APR 19 2020

Pillsbury® Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

0 5150022241 3

0 5150022241 6

8 293

APR 20 2020

Recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased. Consumers should not consume the recalled product.


The Second Recall: Butterball, LLC, a Mount Olive, N.C. establishment, is recalling approximately 78,164 pounds of raw ground turkey products produced on July 7, 2018 that may be contaminated with Salmonella Schwarzengrund, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Friday.

The following products are subject to recall:

  • 48-oz. plastic wrapped tray containing “BUTTERBALL everyday Fresh Ground Turkey WITH NATURAL FLAVORING (85% LEAN/15% FAT)” with sell or freeze by date of 7/26/18, lot code 8188, and UPC codes 22655-71555 or 22655-71557 represented on the label.
  • 48-oz. plastic wrapped tray containing “BUTTERBALL everyday Fresh Ground Turkey WITH NATURAL FLAVORING (93% LEAN/7% FAT)” with sell or freeze by date of 7/26/18, lot code 8188 and UPC code 22655-71556 represented on the label.
  • 16-oz. plastic wrapped tray containing “BUTTERBALL everyday Fresh Ground Turkey WITH NATURAL FLAVORING (85% LEAN/15% FAT)” with sell or freeze by date of 7/26/18, lot code 8188 and UPC code 22655-71546 represented on the label.
  • 16-oz. plastic wrapped tray containing “BUTTERBALL everyday Fresh Ground Turkey WITH NATURAL FLAVORING (93% LEAN/7% FAT)” with sell or freeze by date of 7/26/18, lot code 8188 and UPC codes 22655-71547 or 22655-71561 represented on the label
  • 48-oz. plastic wrapped tray containing “Kroger GROUND TURKEY FRESH 85% LEAN – 15% FAT” with sell or freeze by date of 7/26/18, lot code 8188, and UPC code 111141097993 represented on the label.
  • 48-oz. plastic wrapped tray containing “FOOD LION 15% fat ground turkey with natural flavorings” with sell or freeze by date of 7/26/18, lot code 8188 and UPC code 3582609294 represented on the label.

The products subject to recall have establishment number “EST. P-7345” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to institutional and retail locations nationwide.

Multiple agencies have been investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Schwarzengrund illnesses involving five case patients from two states. 


Wisconsin collected three intact Butterball brand ground turkey samples from a residence where four of the case patients live.  The case patients and ground turkey Salmonella Schwarzengrund isolates are closely related, genetically.


Recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased. Consumers should not consume the recalled product.


The Third Recall: Monogram Meat Snacks, LLC, a Martinsville, Va. establishment, is recalling approximately 191,928 pounds of ready-to-eat pork sausage products that may be adulterated due to possible product contamination, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today. This recall is being initiated due to product tampering, following the production process.


The ready-to-eat pork sausages are heat-treated and shelf-stable. The items were produced and packaged for Conagra Brand / Duke’s Meats Corp. on various dates between Jan. 16 and March 7, 2019.  The following products are subject to recall:

  • 5-oz. plastic pouches of “DUKE’S HICKORY PEACH BBQ SMOKED SHORTY SAUSAGES, Made with A PEACH BBQ RELISH,” that contain a package and case code of 1580002003, and various BEST IF USED BY dates from Jan. 16, 2019 through Jan. 27, 2020.
  • 5-oz. plastic pouches of “DUKE’S HOT & SPICY SMOKED SHORTY SAUSAGES, Made with FRESH-DICED SERRANO PEPPERS,” that contain a package and case code of 1601201052, and various BEST IF USED BY dates from Jan. 16, 2020 through Feb. 3, 2020.
  • 16-oz. plastic pouches of “DUKE’S ORIGINAL RECIPE SMOKED SHORTY SAUSAGES, Made with A CLASSIC BLEND OF SPICES & FRESHLY-CHOPPED HERBS,” that contain a package code of 1601201182, various BEST IF USED BY dates from Jan. 11, 2020 through Feb. 27, 2020, and a case code of 1580002130.
  • 5-oz. plastic pouches of “DUKE’S CAJUN STYLE ANDOUILLE SMOKED SHORTY SAUSAGES, Made with ROASTED RED PEPPERS & CAJUN SPICES,” that contain a package and case code of 1580002073, and various BEST IF USED BY dates from Jan. 10, 2020 through Feb. 13, 2020.
  • 5-oz. plastic pouches of “DUKE’S ORIGINAL RECIPE SMOKED SHORTY SAUSAGES, Made with A CLASSIC BLEND OF SPICES & FRESHLY-CHOPPED HERBS,” that contain a product and case code of 1601201051, and various BEST IF USED BY dates from Feb. 14, 2020 through Feb. 29, 2020.
  • 5-oz. plastic pouches of “DUKE’S HATCH GREEN CHILE SMOKED SHORTY SAUSAGES, Made with ROASTED & DICED HATCH CHILES,” that contain a package and case code of 1580002002, and various BEST IF USED BY dates from Jan. 13, 2020 through Feb. 3, 2020.
  • 5-oz. plastic pouches of “DUKE’S ORIGINAL RECIPE SMOKED SHORTY SAUSAGES, Made with A CLASSIC BLEND OF SPICES & FRESHLY-CHOPPED HERBS,” that contain a package code of 1601201051, various BEST IF USED BY dates from Feb. 17, 2020 through March 1, 2020, and a case code 1601201272.
  • 5-oz. plastic pouches of “DUKE’S HOT & SPICY SMOKED SHORTY SAUSAGES, Made with FRESH-DICED SERRANO PEPPERS,” that contain a package code of 1601201052, various BEST IF USED BY dates from Jan. 16, 2020 through Feb. 24, 2020, and a case code of 1601201274.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. 795” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to retail locations nationwide. The problem was discovered on March 11, 2019 when the establishment confirmed that the product was distributed into U.S. commerce. 


There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider. Recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased. Consumers should not consume the recalled product.






MSP Troopers will be looking for impaired drivers on St. Patrick's Day

During the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day festivities, the Michigan State Police (MSP) is reminding motorists to make safe driving choices.This Sunday, March 17, troopers will join their counterparts from across the country in the international traffic safety initiative, Operation Crash Awareness and Reduction Efforts (C.A.R.E.), acccording to a MSP media release.


“Don’t rely on luck. If you plan on celebrating, plan ahead by designating a sober driver or scheduling a ride on St. Patrick’s Day,” said Col. Joe Gasper, director of the MSP. “We want the roads safe for everyone using them. Troopers will be out looking for impaired drivers.”


The enforcement period begins at 12:01 a.m., on Sunday, March 17, and will end at 11:59 p.m.

Operation C.A.R.E. began in 1977 as a collaborative effort between the MSP and the Indiana State Police, and is one of the nation’s longest-running traffic safety initiatives. It focuses on deterring the three main causes of highway fatalities: aggressive driving, impaired driving and failure to use occupant restraints.


State police and highway patrol agencies from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Ontario Provincial Police, Quebec Police Force and the U.S. Virgin Islands will be participating in this lifesaving traffic safety initiative. Operation C.A.R.E. also includes participation from police agencies affiliated with the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP).



Hastings Kiwanis Key Club Student of the Month named

The Kiwanis Club of Hastings is pleased to announce the receipts of the Key Club Student of the Month for January and February. Dr. Bob Becker presented the awards to two very outstanding members of Hastings High School Key Club.


January Student of the Month is junior Blake Harris, the son of Rebecca and Kenneth Harris.

During his first year as Key Club member, Blake made great strides in bringing attention to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. In honor of his sister,


Blake is donating his award money to that organization. He plans to continue to make a difference in the lives of others through community projects with the Key Club and his commitment to educate others about challenges faced by those with juvenile diabetes.


February Student of the Month is freshman Grace Kurr, the daughter of Anne Wilcox-Kurr. When the Key Club decided to make toys for the Barry County Animal Shelter, Grace found her passion in helping make a difference at the shelter.


She enjoyed learning about the different opportunities for impacting the community through service with the Key Club. Grace has selected the Barry County Animal Shelter to receive her Kiwanis donation.

Hastings Kiwanis congratulates both young adults and looks forward to what they will bring to the future of the community with their attitudes of service to others.  


Photo: (from left) Anne Wilcox-Kurr, her daughter Grace Kurr, Kiwanis President Dr. Bob Becker, Blake Harris and his mother Rebecca Harris at the Kiwanis Club recognition. Harris and Kurr were January and February Key Club Students of the Month from Hastings High School.






Know the truth behind vape devices, including JUUL

Tough classes, sports and music practices, social events, family obligations, college applications — middle and high school students have enough on their plates. Enter: JUUL, a vape device disguised as a computer flash drive. Imagine how hard it is to avoid vape devices, also known as e-cigarettes, when one in five Barry County teenagers are using them, according to a media release from the Barry Eaton District Health Department.


The Barry County Tobacco Reduction Coalition (TRC) is taking a stand to say “enough is enough” to the e-cigarette epidemic. Joining thousands of activists across the country participating in Kick Butts – and JUULs - Day on March 20, the TRC encourages local kids, teens, parents, and educators to commit to setting aside just 10 minutes of their day to know the truth about vapes, including JUULs. Kick Butts Day is a national day of youth advocacy sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, the release said.


There are well over 15,000 flavors of e-cigarettes and cigars, with flavors like butter crumble, berry, bubble gum, cotton candy, gummy bear, grape, and menthol.  These flavors are meant to attract kids into trying tobacco products — 81 percent of youth e-cigarette users started with a flavored product.


Tobacco and e-cigarette companies, including JUUL, see kids and teens as their “replacement smokers,” and use flavors to make their products more appealing to beginners, to keep them coming back for more.


Most notably, flavors hide the fact that the devices contain nicotine, and lots of it – each JUUL pod has as much nicotine as is in 20 cigarettes! Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances and interferes with healthy brain development,  development that may continue into the mid-20s, according to the health department.


Before kids and teens realize it, they can have “NicoTeen brain” and a lifelong addiction. This has been the story for 3.6 million youth who now use e-cigarettes, including Barry County middle and high school students with bright futures ahead of them. It’s time to support our kids. It’s time to know the truth. 


To know the truth about JUUL and other vape devices, visit,,, or

Trying to quit? Visit or for text-based assistance.




Gravel road update Barry County Road Commission

The following update of the condition of gravel roads in the county is from Jake Welch, Director of Operations at the Barry County Road Commission


“We are very aware of the poor conditions of the gravel roads. “I spoke at length with our superintendent last evening about the current conditions as well as our plan moving forward.  The current moisture levels are too high for our trucks or graders to be able to make any improvement to the roads. 


“We have taken graders out and checked areas and there is still frost under the mushy gravel on the surface.  This is problematic in that it doesn't allow the water in the gravel to migrate down into the ground so the gravel just stays wet.  Also they are calling for 1 inch, plus of rain tonight and into tomorrow. 


“He has spoken with our crews and we are prepared to go out anytime this weekend to make any positive headway we can however it will be largely dependent on Mother Nature.

“Thank you for your patience we realize that this is a major inconvenience and we will be out in full force as soon as improvement can be made.”


Consumers plans to interrupt service to 2,400 Middleville area customers Saturday

Consumers Energy has mailed all Middleville area customers postcards with information that beginning about 2 a.m., Saturday March 16, some 2,400 of its customers will experience a three-hour scheduled power outage to allow the safe repair of equipment.


Customer’s service will be interrupted to make repairs to an electrical substation that serves portions of the Village of Middleville and surrounding areas that include Thornapple, Irving and Rutland townships in Barry County and southeastern Caledonia Township in Kent County.


The general area affected is bordered to the north by 100th  Street, M-37 to the south, Wood School Road to the east and Ashley Lane to the west.


The postcard says if for some reason they’re unable to complete their work on that day, they will reschedule for March 17, beginning at 2 a.m. for about three hours.


Customers with questions about the scheduled outage can call Consumers Energy at 800-805-0490 for businesses and 800-477-5050 for residential customers.



Hastings to pay $233,521 to MDOT for Safe Routes to School cost overruns

The City of Hastings will pay invoices for $230,000 from the Michigan Department of Transportation for work done on the Safe Routes to Schools project that went over the contractual cap of $698,000 on funding for the project.


Officials were caught off guard and didn’t realize they owned the money until invoices started coming in after the project was completed, City Manager Jeff Mansfield said.

Councilman Al Jarvis said he had “asked a couple of times” if there were going to be cost overruns during construction and was told no.


“That’s a lot of money; the whole project cost $698,000 and we get a bill for a third of that we were not expecting. To me, $230,000, that’s a heck of a screw up. We have egg on our faces. I don’t understand an explanation of what happened.”


Mansfield said he could give a brief explanation. There were many changes in the scope of work on the Safe Routes to Schools during the project for a variety of reasons; problems that came up and that had to be addressed and a lot of additional work was done, he said.


“A city staff member actually approved the additional work,” he said. It was all needed, legitimate work that was done, and it benefitted the community, “but, it was somewhat discretionary, and if we elected to do ‘this’ work, we had the discretion to change other work to stay within the project’s budget. Which is exactly what should have happened.


“Yes, you’re right…we all have eggs on our faces, but it was approved by city staff. It is an expense we will have to bear…The MDOT will be compensated for the work.”

Jarvis asked if it fell on Williams & Works, the company that did the design work.

“We will be talking to you about Williams &Works and expenses, but we do not anticipate paying them in full for additional work that they had to do.”


Councilman Donald Bowers was adament that Williams & Works should be held completely accountable for not providing the city with the real costs. Mansfield disagreed.  “Williams & Works did have some shortfalls in their design. They acknowledged that, but those costs were in addition to that and were authorized by city staff.


“I think that several critical points were missed and there was an opportunity to control this, and we didn’t avail ourselves of that opportunity.”

Mansfield said the city was taking steps to prevent anything like that from happening again.


“I understand we are robbing Peter to pay Paul, what else can we do? It’s frustrating,” Jarvis said. Councilman Jim Cary asked if they should spread out the payments over time, Mansfield said the city has the funds to cover it, “It just means other work this summer will not be done.”


Bowers asked if the unidentified staff member who approved the change orders had been reprimanded, Mansfield replied “yes.” The vote to amend the budget to decrease spending on streets to pay for the total invoices of $233,521.18 invoices passed, 7-2, with Jarvis and Bowers voting “no.”



Barry County Chamber takes no position on proposed gas tax hike

The Barry County Chamber of Commerce has issued a statement regarding the proposed gas tax proposal from Governor Gretchen Whitmer.


While the Michigan Chamber of Commerce has come out in support of recent gas tax proposals from the governor's office, the Barry County Chamber has no official position on this tax proposal, the statement reads.


“In fact, it is rare that we take a public position on any proposed legislation or state/federal initiative, and we never take sides with candidates,” it continues.


“Furthermore, we have not been a member of the Michigan Chamber for a number of years, specifically due to its lobbying/taking positions on controversial issues...some of which could have negative impacts on our local member businesses and organizations.”



Invitation to the area residents:

You are cordially invited to participate in the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade down South Jefferson Street in Hastings on Saturday, March 16 at 1 p.m. You may bring as many guests as you like to march with you and children and animals are especially welcome.



There are no rules about costumes for the parade, except you should wear something green, the greener the better. Outrageous is fine.


Line-up is a little before 1 p.m. in the alley behind WBCH. You can call Sue at WBCH, 269-945-3414 and tell her you will be in the parade, you know, if you are planning to drive a green Sherman tank; otherwise you can just show up.


Even if you just happen to be downtown Hastings, you’re welcome to walk along and wave to the crowd. The Grand Marshal for this year’s parade is Ron Kloosterman. The six-block parade route ends where it began, but you can drop out anytime.


If you are all Irish, part Irish or no Irish at all, and are sporting anything green, you’re welcome to join the biggest little parade in Hastings for just a silly time. You’ll see lots of smiles, guaranteed.


We don’t know why St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17, the day of his death, but we are grateful he drove all of the snakes out of Ireland.




State Rep. Julie Calley sets office hours in Hastings, Lake Odessa March 26

87th District Rep. Julie Calley, of Portland, will present a legislative update and then talk to residents one on one if they have individual concerns in two area locations on Tuesday, March 26.


From 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Calley will be at the Page Memorial Building, 839 Fourth Avenue in Lake Odessa and from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. in the county commission chambers in the Barry County Courthouse, 220 West State Street in Hastings.


"I deeply appreciate the insight and feedback that I receive during office hours. I am grateful for engaged community members," Calley said.


No appointment is necessary. Residents unable to attend scheduled office hours may send their questions and ideas to Calley via email at or by calling her at 517-373-0842.



Special Barry County Commission night meeting moved back to April 11

A special Barry County Commission night meeting set for late March has been moved back to April 11 at the Tyden Center at 7 p.m. Commission Chair/Commissioner Heather Wing said that an unresolvable conflict forced the change.


The meeting is to take public opinion on amendments to the Agriculture Preservation Board ordinance and establishing an Open Spaces Ordinance, both dealing with the buying of development rights from property owners.


The committee of the whole meeting is not an official public hearing, but to give the public a chance to learn about the changes, weigh in with their opinions and ask questions. During discussion at last week’s commission meeting, several commissioners had concerns about the changes, leading to the special meeting.


Stacy Byers, on the staff of the Kent County Agricultural Preservation Board and the Agriculture and Open Space Preservation Board in Ingham County, was with chairman of the Barry County Agriculture Promotion Board, Paul Wing, to explain the changes in the ordinance.


Since the issue was complex with many variables, the meeting, “will answer all the questions and concerns. It’s a good practice that leads to making good decisions,” she said.


In other business Tuesday, Administrator Michael Brown said auditors Gabridge & Company PLC has completed two weeks of field work and everything “seems to be going well.” The firm will prepare a draft review leading up to a report to the board, Brown said. //


Also, commissioners agreed to:

*provide a resolution for full faith and credit for an irrevocable line of credit for the Little Thornapple River Intercounty Drain

*reappoint Jack Nadwornik to the planning commission

*change notice #1 for an Office of Community Corrections grant

*buy replacement bullet resistant vests for the Sheriff’s Office with funds coming from the Diverted Felon’s Fund.

*appoint Nancy Kinney, Barbra Scott and Patricia Giar to the Animal Shelter Advisory Board.

*re-appoint Don Bowers and Ruth Perino to the Community Health Authority Board and re-appoint Jack Nadwornik to the Planning Commission for a three-year term.

*re-appoint Craig Stolsonburg and Commissioner David Jackson to the Tax Allocation Board and also Jackson to the Brownfield Development Authority.

*appoint Jim Brown and Stuart Cowan to the Solid Waste Oversight Committee.

*agreements between the county and Reynolds Land Surveying and Mapping P.C, Arrow Land Survey, Pathfinder Engineering, Inc, Crane Land Survey, Carr & Associates LLC, Exxel Engineering and Jonker Land Surveys PC for 2019.

*appoint Robert Carr, Michael Pratt, Ken Vierzen, Steven Koerber, Randall Jonker and Cindy Koster to the Barry County Remonumentation Peer Review Board.


This article was amended to correct the Barry County auditor's company name










Citizen asks support for separate Barry County Health Department

Barry County citizen Shirley Barnum read a statement at last week's Barry County Commission meeting, asking the commissioners “to support an effort to bring the Barry County Health Department home to Barry County”  The Barry-Eaton District Health Department now serves both Barry and Eaton counties.


Barnum said she worked in the accounting field for 27 years, “and I understand numbers. We know this will save in the range of $300,000 to $400,000 a year in taxes. We need to have oversight o our health department's spending, which we do not seem to have at this tiime."


Barnum is inviting people to attend the next health department board meeting in Hastings at 330 West Woodlawn Avenue on March 28, at 9:30 a.m. She also plans to write a letter to the editor asking those interested to come to a meeting in the Tyden Center to see how much interest there is separating from Eaton County. “We’ll see what happens…the health department budget is $6 million to $7 million a year...we need to start saving money." 


In October last year, Commissioner Howard “Hoot” Gibson requested the commission appoint an Ad Hoc committee to study the feasibility of Barry County having its own health department; Commissioners Jon Smelker, Dan Parker and Heather Wing made up the committee. The results of their study will be given at the March 26 commissioner’s meeting, Smelker said..


Originally funded by the Kellogg Foundation, the Barry County Health Department began operating in a wing of Pennock Hospital in 1931. Barry and Eaton counties became a district health department around 1966 to increase its population and  be eligible for more state and federal funds.



Donations Wrap Spectrum Health Pennock Cancer Center Patients in Warmth, Provide Mental Break

Cancer Care bags recently donated to Spectrum Health Foundation at Pennock for the Cancer Center will provide patients with warmth, comfort and personal notes of encouragement.


“Donations such as this provide our patients with items they may not have when in for appointments; to know the community is thinking of you when going through a tough treatment is encouraging,” explained Janine Dalman, executive director, Spectrum Health Foundation at Pennock. “These Cancer Care bags are deeply appreciated.”


As part of a monthly project, the TK Senior Center, run by Thornapple Kellogg Community Enrichment, chose to make these goodie bags to benefit patients at the center. Each bag included a small fleece lap blanket, fleece “toasty toes” foot sack, tissues, toothbrush and toothpaste, mints, crossword puzzle book, ginger tea, lip balm, hand sanitizer and a card with words of encouragement. 


“The group of senior citizens had a wonderful time creating these Cancer Care bags, knowing they would be given to patients locally. They spent the afternoon putting together the bags, making blankets and writing thoughtful notes for each individual who will receive a bag,” stated Laura Munjoy, TK Community Enrichment Administrative Assistant. “Contents of the bags were donated by community members and supplies were made possible with a grant from Barry Community Foundation.”


In 2018, the Cancer Center hosted 690 provider visits, 699 infusions and 325 chemo therapy treatments.










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