Local News

Hastings wastewater treatment plant improvement project explained

The City of Hastings is in line for a $9.2 million overhaul of the city’s wastewater treatment plant and the City Council heard a comprehensive report from project engineers with Hubbell, Roth & Clark, Inc.

Douglas Urquhart and Dennis Benoit explained the process at a public hearing on the Project Plan at last week’s council meeting.


The Project Plan is required as a condition of obtaining the project’s funding through a low-interest loan, currently at two percent, from the State’s Revolving Fund administered by the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (formerly the MDEQ).


Urquhart gave a project overview of the process the city uses to treat wastewater and the need for improvements. The system lacks in several areas with aging equipment at the facility built in the 1930s, expanded to one million gallons a day in the 1970s and to two million gallons a day in the 1998, with some improvements in 2012.


Three options were possible; leave it as it is, construct new or upgrade the existing WWTP. If left as it is, the lack of redundancy equipment for several processes at the plant could lead to treatment problems or water quality issues in the receiving water. Building new would require a new site and was not considered because of the high cost.


Urquhart discussed each of the steps in the project, listing the expected upgrading to the headworks building, waste sludge pumping and service building, aeration system and walkway improvements, ultra violet disinfection and effluent water system, primary settling tank and thickener, and the building expansion


The proposed schedule calls for submitting the final project plan for prioritization by July 1, approval of plans and specification and project bidding by December. The tentative project award would be in February 2020, with State Revolving Fund closing in March 2020 and construction of projects in 2020 and 2021 and estimated completion in October, 2021.


The project’s cost, including engineering, interest and financials comes to $9,250,000 with an annual debt retirement of $566,750. The additional monthly cost to city residents (600 cf/month) is estimated to be $10.25.


Short term impacts include noise, potential for erosion, and increased traffic; Urquhart said guidelines for vegetation removal, dust and traffic control would be met; soil erosion and sedimentation control, flood plain, wetlands and other environmental permits would be obtained and the access to the Dog Park and RV dump station would be via a new road. Jobs would also be created during construction.


The long term impact are substantial operating improvements; ability to meet required permit limits and avoiding regulatory actions, including fines, and reduce energy and water utility costs, Urquhart said.

Hastings WWTP serves the city and parts of Rutland, Hastings and Carlton townships.


“We’ve grown to expect and take for granted reliable, high-quality water supply and efficient wastewater collection and treatment,” Hastings City Manager Jeff Mansfield said. “But these are critically important public services, particularly in urban environments. 


“We have been planning for the upcoming Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrades for several years now.  The project will focus on the construction of a “headworks” or primary treatment facility that will remove debris, grit and other materials from the stream of wastewater as it enters the treatment plant.   


“These materials impede the treatment process and damage the equipment within the plant itself. The project will also include replacement and/or improvement of a number of the older pieces of equipment at the plant, reducing energy consumption and increasing the efficiency of the treatment process. 


“As with any municipal utility, ongoing facility maintenance and improvement programs are required to keep pace with the ever-evolving regulatory requirements that apply to such operations, and to protect the quality of our environment here in Barry County. “





Rep Calley to hold office hours in Middleville, Hastings

87th District State Rep. Julie Calley, of Portland, will give legislative updates to district residents in Middleville and Hastings on Monday, June 3. First at the Middleville Village Hall, 100 East Main Street from 11 a.m. to noon, and then the Barry County Courthouse Commissioners Chambers, 220 West State Street, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

If residents have concerns after the updates, she will take one-on-one meetings.


"Accountable representation requires consistent feedback,” Calley said. “Office hours present an opportunity for productive dialogue with those whom I serve.”


No appointment is necessary. Residents also may send questions and ideas to or call her at 517-373-0842.



Child Car Seat Check

Barry County United Way and Safe Kids from Helen Devos Children's Hospital will be hosting a Car Seat event at Thornapple Township Emergency Services (Middleville's Fire Department) tonight from 4:30p.m. to 8:00p.m.  National Traffic Safety Board certified installer/educators will be available to check car seats for proper fit and installation.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 77% of children's car seats are being used incorrectly.  Appointments are not required but are helpful.  To register or if you have questions call the Barry County United Way at 269-945-4010.


Remembering those who served and died for their country

Area communities hold observances and parades to honor the intent of Memorial Day; to remember America’s men and women in the military who served and died defending their country.

Here’s a listing of services and parades in the area:


*In Hastings on May 27 the Lawrence J. Bauer American Legion Post 45 Memorial Parade steps off from Boltwood and State streets at 9:30 a.m. marching through the city, down North Broadway to Tyden Park to lay a wreath at the Veterans Memorial, one for all veterans and a MIA and POW wreath, perform a rifle salute and the playing of Taps. At the Thornapple River they will toss a wreath into the water, another rifle salute and playing of Taps.

Riverside Cemetery at the GAR monument at the end of the Avenue of Flags is the last stop where Memorial Day ceremonies will be held. The grave of the most recently buried veteran at the cemetery will receive the final wreath and the final honors of the event. To register to take part in the parade, call Jim Atkinson at 269-948-8219.


*Orangeville Township has the honor of having Medal of Honor winner James C. McCloughan as keynote speaker at its Memorial Day Observance on Sunday May 26 at 2 p.m. at the Orangeville Memorial Monument at the township hall.

A native of Southwest Michigan, McCloughan became a Medal of Honor recipient in July 2017 for “gallantry at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty” in May, 1969 during the Battle of Nui Yon Hill in Vietnam. Then a private first class, McCloughan was a combat medic with Company C, 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry, 196th Light Infantry Brigade, Americal Division, when the unit air assaulted into an area near the city of Tam Ky in Quang Nam Province. He repeatedly ran through withering gunfire to reach wounded soldiers and pulled at least ten of them to safety, while wounded himself.

The honor roll of deceased Orangeville veterans from the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean Conflict, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq wars is read at the Orangeville Veteran’s Memorial, along with the laying of wreaths, the Delton High School Band playing patriotic songs and Jesse Morrin playing Taps.


*Prairieville Township hosts its Memorial Day parade on May 27 at 1 p.m. starting at the intersection of Norris and Delton roads, traveling north on Pine Lake Road to Prairieville Cemetery when they will hold a memorial service to honor all in the military who sacrificed their lives in the service to their country..


 *Vermontville’s parade starts at 9: 30 a.m. at the bridge at North Ionia Road and Nashville Highway, travels through the village to Woodlawn Cemetery. Typically, a group of 45-50 people will gather to hear a memorial presentation, listen to the band play, a pastor’s invocation and watch the gun salute.


*The Hickory Corners Memorial Day Parade will be held on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27, beginning with a pancake breakfast at the Hickory Corners Fire Department from 7 to 9:30 a.m. The parade begins at 10 a.m. sharp at Cadwallader Park, goes east through town to end at the East Hickory Corners Cemetery where there will be memorial services at the East Hickory Corners Cemetery honoring our departed comrades. The guest speaker is Colonel Frank J. Walker (Ret). There will be a flyover by the Hooligans Flight Team, weather permitting. 

The service will be followed by a chicken BBQ at Simmonds-Williams American Legion Post 484 at 3801 West Hickory Road.

The parade, held for more than 60 years and getting bigger every year, features between 125 to 150 participants, the Shriner’s Mini-T’s,  Gull Lake and Delton high school bands, tractors, horses/carriages, fire trucks from several departments, floats, classic cars, Boy/Girl Scout Troops, 4-H members and local children on their decorated bikes. 


*Nashville area’s Memorial Day Parade will begin at noon following a short ceremony at the bridge over the Thornapple River, then moving south on Main Street, stopping at the fire station to remember our first responders and ending at Sherman Street.


The gathering will then relocate to Lakeview Cemetery for the flag raising and short VFW ceremony. Note that the band will not march to the cemetery.

Everyone is invited to join the parade; walking, riding bikes, motorcycles, ORV's, ATV's or antique cars.  Participants are encouraged to show their patriotism by displaying flags, or something similar, in red, white and blue.

A few volunteers for the rifle squad and color guard are still needed.  If interested call or text 517-852-4435.


*Yankee Springs Township will honor veterans with memorial services and speakers Sunday, May 26 at 5 p.m. at the township fire department on Payne Lake Road. Organizers are still looking for veterans who would like to take part. Call 269-838-1289 anytime.


*Wayland’s annual VFW parade is on Memorial Day at 11 a.m. to noon, and ending at Post 7581 at 735 South Main Street. The VFW Post again hosts a cookout following the parade. The schedule for veterans who visit area cemeteries to honor the war dead starts at Hooker Cemetery at 8 a.m., Hill Cemetery at 8:20 a.m., Native American Cemetery at 8:50 a.m., Germond Cemetery at 9:15 a.m., Sts. Cyril & Methodias Cemetery at 9:45 a.m. and at Elmwood Cemetery at 10:15 a.m.


*Caledonia’s American Legion Post 305 honors veterans at local cemeteries in Alaska at 9 a.m., Blain at 9:45 a.m., Dutton at 10:30 a.m. and Holy Corners at 11:15 a.m.  The parade is May 27, at noon and travels down Main Street to Lakeside Cemetery with a ceremony to honor America’s fallen heroes.



Photo (top left) U.S. Navy veteran Roberts Buys places a white flower at the veteran’s monument at Mt. Hope Cemetery during the 2018 Middleville Memorial Day ceremony 


(ledt) A Color Guard leads the Middleville Memorial Day parade last year.


Spring Storms

A line of Thunderstorms in advance of a cold front pushing eastward moved across lower Michigan Sunday afternoon bringing with it high winds and brief heavy rain.  At 6:05 pm a Thunderstorm moved east across Hastings and Barry county. As the storm pushed eastward the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids issued a  Torndao Warning for Barry County around 6:25. The event lasted for three minutes. The National Weather Service said it was an EF-0 with 80 mile an hour winds that damaged three barns and dozens of trees.  The tornado path was approximately 1.3 miles in length with a 50-yard width and was located from Dowling to Maple Grove.

The last Tornado in Barry County prior to Sundays Tornado occured on September 1, 2018 at Little Long Lake Southwest of Hickory Corners with peak winds of 75 Miles an hour.

Since Saturday  through this Sunday the Hastings National Weather Service Climatological Station has recorded nearly two inches of rain (1.94). 

The heavy rains will impact Streams,  Creeks and the Thornapple River.

The Rain total for May  to date is 5.08 inches.


Barry County roads stable, slightly improving; significant needs remain

Barry County roads are rated by the state at 6.5 to 7 on a scale of 1 to 10. The Barry County Road Commission borrowed $4.5 million in 2016, and unrestricted some other funds for its projects and is close to not having a backlog of projects, Road Commission Managing Director Brad Lamberg told Barry County Commissioners  in an annual report Tuesday.


The road commission has been relying less on townships for funding in the past few years, he added. However, he said while the county’s roads are stable and slightly improving, there is still significant need, and “most other local agencies are in much worse shape…having enough funding to do the right repairs at the right time would allow the BCRC to address most road needs at an overall lower life cycle cost, saving the taxpayer money in the long run.”


Legislation passed in 2015 began providing money for roads in 2017. He said 2018 is the first full year of new revenue going to roads. Beginning this year, the state is phasing in an additional permanent $600 million and will eventually raise an additional $1.2 billion per year for Michigan roads by the year 2021.


After a decade of shortfall in funds that didn’t cover sharply rising costs on materials, especially from 2004 to 2008, “the new 2017 funding surely will help, especially in Barry County,” Lamberg said.

“However in most areas of the state, that funding was way too little and way too late. Governor Whitmer’s push to fix the roads is definitely needed. The current proposal is for a 45 cent per gallon gas tax increase. Infrastructure and funding discussions in 2019 will certainly be interesting.”


He noted if the 45 cent increase is passed, much of the increase will go to the MDOT, The proposed law would bring $1.5 million to Barry County; the current funding formula would send $5.3 million to the road commission.


When asked what he would like to see for the county roads in five years, he replied he would like “to maintain where we are now.”


The 32 road commission employees are responsible for 344.58 primary roads, 722.18 local roads, 593.45 paved roads, 473.31 gravel roads, 68.01 all season roads, 76.17 subdivision/plat roads, 7.69 seasonal maintenance roads and 10.73 natural beauty roads and 43 bridges.

In addition to Lamberg, the road commission has a three- member board of directors; David Solmes, D. David Dykstra and Frank Fiala.


In other business, commissioners approved spending $206,220 for new law enforcement Records Management System and Jail Management System from CentralSquare Technologies to be paid from the Data Processing Fund and $48,222 to replace the chiller at the sheriff’s office to be paid from the Building Rehabilitation Fund.


Look for free food, family fun at Charlton Park Day, May 25

Looking for excitement this Memorial Day weekend? Celebrate the official kick-off to summer at the 13th annual Charlton Park Day Saturday, May 25 from 11 a.m.  to 3 p.m.


The mission of Charlton Park Day is to honor Barry County residents who have supported the park for the past 83 years.  Thanks to generous community members and local businesses, the entire day is free to everyone.  Free grilled hot dogs, chips, ice cream, and bottled water will be provided to all park visitors while supplies last.


In celebration of Irving Charlton’s legacy and all the supporters in Barry County, the park will celebrate its 83rd year with activities and displays all around the Village, along with crafts, and treats. Watch master craftsmen in action in the blacksmith shop and fiber spinning in the township hall. 


Sample cookies and bread baked on a wood stove in the Sixberry House and the Bristol Inn.  Popcorn and balloons, courtesy of the Hastings Rotary Club and Charlton Park Village Foundation, will be outside the Upjohn House. The steam-driven sawmill will be in operation and just maybe the 1885 Westinghouse Steam Traction Engine will make a couple of rounds.

Cowboy Tommy and His Fancy Roping Tricks will be featured at 12:45 p.m.  Hop aboard one of the Park’s trams for a tour of the Park between noon and 2:30 p.m.


Barry County’s Central Dispatch, Transit Authority, Road Commission, Commission on Aging, Mid MI Color Guard, and others will be attending with goodies and information.  Fingerprinting for children will be done by the Sheriff’s Posse.  WBCH 100.1 FM will host a live radio remote as well. 


“Representatives from the Michigan Longbow Association, Civil War reenactment, Barry County Youth Day and Charlton Park Gas & Steam Engine Club will be onsite to promote upcoming Park events,” Director Dan Patton said.  “The 1890 Corley Sawmill will also be running.” 


The park is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. The public is invited to stop by to swim, boat, picnic or hike today. 


Historic Charlton Park is located southeast of Hastings at 2545 S. Charlton Park Road. For additional information, please visit us on the web at or call 269.945.3775.


Photos: (upper left) Free hot dogs, chips and and a drink suits this young man just fine at an earlier Charlton Park Day.


(left) Cowboy Tommy will again dazzle kids with his rope tricks this Charlton Park Day.



Farm Accident

72 year old Robert Othmer died Thursday after being trapped inside a corn silo at his farm on Coats Grove road in Barry County's Castleton township. Michigan State Police in Hastings said family members attempted to pull Othmer from the silo but were unable to do so. Emergecy personnel were able to remove him from the silo, however lifesaving efforts were unsuccessful. Multiple area fire department, first responders, a conservation officer and aero med assisted at the scene.


The Patio offers unique view and more for group events in Hastings

Add The Patio to your list of places to check out when planning a party, meeting or event in Hastings.

A nicely landscaped outdoor space featuring outdoor tables and chairs, the Patio has  a panoramic view of the Thornapple Plaza, rain garden and Thornapple River.

The event location is atop the Hastings Public Library, 227 East State Street.


The Patio features indoor/outdoor space and is designed for parties gatherings up to 20 to 50. The community room is included for indoor activities with Wi-Fi, movie screen and audio/visual capabilities and a kitchenette to keep food warm or cold.


Beer and wine are allowed at after hour events and there is ample parking within a block of the library. Price and reservation applications can be found at:

Photos (upper left) The Patio offers a different view of State Street in Hastings, including the Thornapple Plaza, rain garden and the Thornapple River.


(left) Event-goers at the Patio will have a unique view of Thornapple Plaza concerts.

(photos supplied by Hastings Public Library)


Natural Shoreline Workshop set for May 18

The Barry Conservation District, Pierce Cedar Creek Institute and Charlton Park will present a Natural Shoreline Workshop at the Park on May 18 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Recreation and development along Michigan lakes can cause erosion and reduce natural habitat. Restoring natural shorelines can protect from high wave energy and erosion while promoting water quality for recreation and wildlife habitat for fisheries.


Join the Barry Conservation District and Pierce Cedar Creek Institute staff for the natural shoreline workshop to learn how to get your shoreline to work for you by designing it to protect against , maintain water quality and provide great habitat, all while looking beautiful.


Thanks to grant funding, the workshop is being offered for $10, lunch included. Space is limited so register today with David at 269-908-4099.


. Hastings replaces 12 and 13 year old copiers

Hastings is replacing two of its copiers at city hall, a Ricoh and a Xerox. One is 12 years old, the other, 13 years old.  Noordyk Business Equipment Company from Grand Rapids will replace the pair.


Clerk Jane Saurman said they chose Noordyk for their exceptional service. That they were the lowest bidder of the four bids received was a nice bonus, she said.

Rental is $391.26 a month and maintenance $246.73 a month. Noordyk will provide two new copiers, five new peripheral printers/scanners, maintenance of covered equipment, including current printers, removal of obsolete equipment and toners for the copiers and printers.


The new iPads for council and planning commission members will have protection against damage of their new units. The council opted for an Applecare Plus two-year protection plan at the cost of $100 per iPad at a total cost not to exceed $1,700.


Also Monday, the police department was given the go-ahead for an E-Crash Report System from Nexis Lexis. Officers will be able to write and file reports electronically and send them directly to Lansing, instead of filling out paper reports that are sent in once a month, Chief Jeff Pratt said the electronic system will soon be state mandated and comes at no cost to the department.


The Plucky Knitters plan for a barbeque- style chicken picnic behind their store on South Jefferson complete with a tent and food trucks in city parking lot #2 was tentatively approved. The council generally thought it was a good idea, but the staff will work with businesses that use the parking lot, specifically Hungry Howie’s, to avoid mingling of cars and people.


Last year’s event drew 200 people from all over the world. Organizers have booked 45 to 50 rooms at the hotel for the second annual event Saturday, June 1, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

“This is a great thing. I’d like to see them try it,” Mayor David Tossava said.


The council also approved the 4th annual July Block Party from noon to midnight, July 5 on West Marshall Street. The street would be closed; the city will supply the barriers, the neighborhood people will put them up. With the street closed to traffic, residents can mingle without worrying about traffic. Pratt said he had no concerns about the event.



Hastings Council to consider new fireworks hours, vaping in the city

The Hastings City Council had the first reading of three amendments Monday, will have a second reading and make decisions on them at its meeting in two weeks.

An amendment to Ordinance 571 would regulate the hours and days fireworks can be discharged.


The state has changed the times when it is permitted. The new times are from:

*11a.m. on Dec. 31 to 1 a.m. on Jan. 1

*11 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. on the Saturday and Sunday immediately before

Memorial Day

* 11 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. on June use 29 and 30 and July 1, 2, 3, and 4

* 11 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. on July 5, if that date is a Friday or Saturday

* 11 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. on the Saturday and Sunday immediately before

Labor Day.


An amendment to ordinance 572 would prohibit persons in the city under 18 from possessing tobacco or tobacco-less products. The city has determined that prohibiting the sale, giving or furnishing of e-cigarettes (also called electronic cigarettes, e-cigarettes, e-pipes, e-hookahs, or "electronic nicotine delivery systems,”) to minors and prohibiting the purchase, possession, or use of e-cigarettes by minors is in the city’s best interests and will promote public health, safety and welfare. Violations are civil infractions punishable a fines and/or jail


An amendment to ordinance 573 gives the definitions of vaping devices and related products.


In other business Monday after the required public hearings, the council approved the final assessment roll for the 2019 Downtown Parking Special Assessment District. The special levy on downtown businesses, which drew no comments during the public hearings, helps pay for materials and labor costs for maintenance of city parking lots.


Downtown Hastings merchants have paid the special assessments since parking meters were removed from the downtown. For the last several years, business owners have paid the same amount because the Downtown Development Authority picked up the tab for increases for materials and labor costs.


This year, the total cost for upkeep is $43,650. The DDA offered to pay $15,962 of the assessment, leaving the total assessment for the merchants at $27,688. The assessments vary from a low of $18.70 to a high of $2,214.523.


Also, The American Cancer Society Relay for Life was approved for Saturday, June 1 at Tyden Park, from 11 a.m. to about 11 p.m., with all “the normal activities,” representative Jon Hook said. A silent and live auction, slide show during the Survivor Ceremony, an awards ceremony and several laps around the park with different themes are planned.







Hastings Doctor Thomas Hoffman's office wins three excellence awards

Thomas Hoffman, M.D. has announced that his office has received three MPRO’s 2019 Governor’s Awards of Excellence for Improving Heart Health, management of diabetes and Behavior Health with his patients.



This year, more than 130 Michigan hospitals, physician practices, nursing homes, inpatient psychiatric facilities, ambulatory surgery centers and home health agencies were honored with the Governor’ Award of Excellence.


The awards recognize participants for their dedication and success in improving healthcare quality and patient safety in Michigan. To be eligible for the award, participants must have achieved, maintained and continually improved in specific and rigorous milestones related to the award they received.


“We are fortunate to be able to partner with Dr. Hoffman and all the other dedicated organizations across the state of Michigan,’ said MPRO President and CEO Leland Babitch, M.D. MBA.  

“To be able to recognize these outstanding accomplishments with the Governor’s office highlights the importance of improving healthcare quality.”


“Our goal is to provide innovative patient care which is both cost effective and guides my patients to better health outcomes,” Hoffman said.

“Achieving quality care addresses key concepts such as comprehensive medication management, coordination of care with specialists and addressing both medical and health-related social needs.

“These awards recognize the hard work and dedication of my entire staff to improve health care quality,” he said.


The Governor’s Award of Excellence was first developed in 2003. The current award is based upon work from the 2017-2018 in the following areas:

*improving heart health

*increasing adult immunizations

*lowering the risk of infection in hospitals

*effective reporting and measurement

*improving care in nursing homes

*increasing identification of behavioral health concerns

*improving diabetes management.


Hoffman’s office is located at 225 South M-37 Highway. Nurse Practioneer Della Hughes Carter joined the practice May. 1, and is accepting new patients. Contact the office at 269-945-3401 to request registration information.

Award recipients were honored May 8 at Eagle Eye Golf Course in Bath Township. For more information about the award, including a list of winners, visit


MPRO is a non-profit organization and national leader in healthcare quality improvement and medical review. Our goal is simple-we are helping healthcare get better. For more information about MPRO, visit


Photo: Dr. Thomas Hoffman’s award winning staff includes (front row, from left) Gale Chaffee, Barb Ketchum, Jill Eaton, (second row) Cheryl Cravero, Hoffman, President and CEO of MPRO, Leland Babitch, M.D. and Tammy James.  Lynne Goris is not pictured.

(photo provided)


Poppy Days are May 17-18-19

The Hastings City Council Monday officially proclaimed May 17-18- 19 as American Legion Auxiliary Poppy Days in Hastings. Irene Ames, member of the Lawrence J. Bauer American Legion Post 45 Auxiliary accepted the proclamation


Post members will be at the entrances of Hastings businesses during Poppy Days, offering red poppies to the public as a way to remember the men and women who served and died for their country. They do not sell them, but donations are welcome.


Mayor Dave Tossava read the proclamation which said the poppy is an international symbol of the sacrifice of lives in war, and the hope that none died in vain.


The red poppy as a symbol of respect for those who lost their lives in battle was inspired by a poem written during WWI by Lt. Col. John McCrea, a Canadian physician and artillery commander who was appointed medical officer and major of the 1st Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery.


McCrea treated the wounded during the second Battle of Ypres, and wrote the poem after a young soldier friend was killed during the early days of the battle. McCrea was moved by the red poppies at a cemetery; the only plants to grow on otherwise barren battlefields.


After his poem about the military cemetery Flanders Fields, the red poppies came to symbolize the blood shed during battle. 


In Flanders Fields

By John McCrae, May 1915


In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.


We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.


Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die


We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.


“I’m hoping for a great Poppy drive this year,” Ames said. “It all goes to the veterans.”


The American Legion Auxiliary is the world's largest women's patriotic service organization, with membership of three-quarter million women directly related to a veteran who served during a time of U.S. declared war or conflict. The Legion’s mission to serve veterans, the military and their families is carried out through the outreach program services delivered by its members volunteering in more than 9,000 communities for the past 99 years.  





Hastings compost facility on limited hours waiting for gate repair

Vandals damaged the gate to the composting area at the city facility on West State Road two weeks ago and city officials don’t know how long it will take to replace the parts.

In the meantime, Department of Public Services employees will staff the facility on Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon until repairs are made.


However, several council members think the same vandalism will happen again, and will look for other options. City Manager Jeff Mansfield will get cost estimates for monthly curbside pick-up of yard waste and others will come up with suggestions for a solution.


Before deciding on the gate that opened only with code numbers issued by the city, the council spent quite some time discussing several ways for a workable solution to the overuse of its facility; it was being overwhelmed by materials that were not compostable with an unknown amount left by non-city residents.

“There is a camera there. I don’t know why it didn’t get a picture of the vandal,” Mansfield said.

The gate was damaged shortly after the site opened for the season.




Short term solution for Crooked Lake flooding still being sought

A short term solution to the flooding at Crooked Lake is still a work in progress, Barry County Drain Commissioner Jim Dull said Monday.


The Barry County Drain Commission has purchased 23.7 acres of property from Daryl Jones on the north side of Delton Road, have berms in place to form a retention pond and will pump water from Crooked Lake into the holding area. They are waiting for easements and permits right now, he said.

The water level at the lake was at 927.8 last week, when it should be at 922.75, he said.


When they can relieve the flooding in the short term, they will work on a long term fix: installing a 12-inch underground drain tile from the retention pond to move the lake water to the Delton Drain on Pine Lake Road.


A Task Force working on the Crooked Lake flooding met April 29. The Drain Commision is not a member of the group, but after the meeting Dull, two engineers, their legal counsel and representatives from the Department of Environmental, Great Lakes & Energy (EGLE), formerly the DEQ, and the DNR answered questions from the group.

“That helped,” Dull said. “It was a good, very productive meeting.”


An informational meeting for residents in the Watson Drain District to hear about the scope of the project is set for Saturday, June 8 at 10 a.m. in the Delton School gym. Dull will be on the dais with the engineers and attorneys. He has invited elected state officials and representatives from the DNR and EGLE. “We’ve already sent out notices to people and told them if they have questions to write them down and we’ll try to answer them.”


The Crooked Lake flooding has defied solution since the spring of 2018, causing ongoing hardships for lake residents and frustration for county officials. Several ideas have been proposed and discarded for various reasons. The Barry County Board of Commissioners approved $500,000 in funding for the emergency in July of last year.




Governor signs bill forgiving four more "snow days," schools reschedule last day

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed a bill that forgives school districts from making up an extra four school days lost during a cold weather emergency from Jan. 29 to Feb. 1. State law already forgives districts six days canceled for “snow days,” and schools can get a waiver from the state superintendent for three additional days.  


Many districts have exceeded the nine-day limit and without the legislation would have to add make up days into June. Here are area school’s schedules for the last day of school and graduation ceremonies.


*Bellevue Community School's last day is Friday, May 31.

Graduation is Sunday, May 19 at 2 p.m. in the high school gym.


*Thornapple Kellogg’s last day is Friday, May 31.

Graduation is Thursday, May 23 at 7 p.m. in Bob White Stadium, if weather permits.


*Hastings Area Schools last day is Wednesday, June 5, and is a half day.

Graduation is Friday, May 24 at 7 p.m. in the gymnasium.


* Lakewood Public School’s last day has not been adjusted yet.

Graduation is Thursday, May 23 at 7 p.m. at the High School gym.


*Maple Valley School’s last day is Monday, June 10.

Graduation is Friday, May 31 at 7 p.m. in the sports complex.


*Delton Kellogg’s last day is Friday, June 7, a half day.

Graduation is Thursday, May 30 at 7 p.m. in the gym.


*Caledonia Community Schools last day is Friday, June 7.

Graduation will be Thursday, May 23 at 7 p.m. at the High School.


*Wayland Union Schools last day is Monday, June 10, a half-day.

Graduation is set for Thursday, May 23 at 7 p.m. in the football stadium.


Grimsby Hollow Meadery coming to Middleville

Dave and Mandy Grimsby, both brewers, started brewing mead in their home brewery, and then moved up to producing mead commercially in Alto. Now, because of demand, the couple is planning the opening of a tasting center for the honey-based wine in the Towne Center in Middleville.


Mead is an ancient alcoholic beverage made by fermenting honey and water. It can be light or rich, sweet or dry, or even sparkling. It may be flavored with herbs, spices and flowers.

According to the Urban Dictionary, mead was called the nectar of the gods. It was said to be the Norse God Odin’s favorite drink. Mead predates wine and beer and distilled beverages.


“We’ll have small plates and meat and cheese platters; they pair well with mead,” Mandy said.  Bottles of mead will be for sale with names like Blue Aurora Blueberry Mead, The Beekeeper Oak-aged Traditional Mead, The Legend of Grimsby Hollow Smoked Pumpkin Mead or the Midsummer Night Strawberry Lemonade Mead. “There’s is taste of honey in the mead, but fermenting it makes the taste more subtle,” she said.


The couple looked for a place to expand with a tasting room for some time, Mandy said, and settled on Middleville.

“Middleville has beautiful spaces that are affordable and they really wanted us there.” Mandy has close friends in Middleville that she visits often, so she knows the village quite well.


The move is proceeding on schedule, with site plan approval last week for the Grimsby Hollow Meadery and the permit from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission pending; they hope to open in late June.



(left) David and Mandy Grimsby, shown here at an industry function, are co-owners of Grimsby Hollow Meadery and are working toward opening a tasting room in Middleville.


Photo by Rebecca Leigh Thompson


Hastings Woman pleads guilty to stealing precription drugs

38 year old Amanda Sheridan of Hastings who worked as a medical assistant, pleaded guilty to the charge that resulted in fraudulant  prescriptions totaling over 4, 000 pills, including Norco, Adderall and other highly-abused controlled substances, according to a U.S. Attorney in Grand Rapids.

Sheridan stole a Doctor's prescription pad and used it to obtain the pills.

The U.S. Atorney said in a statement, "That commitment includes federal prosecution of individuals who abuse their position in the medical field to divert prescription controlled substances to the street."


Middleville Heritage Days 2019 theme is "Remember When..."

Middleville’s Heritage Days this year will be three days in August with the theme, “Remember When…”


Event Coordinator Susan Foster and several committees have many activities planned and are looking for help with more ideas and activities that follow the theme of remembering Middleville’s past.

They need volunteers to help and come up with ideas to include during the Aug. 16-17-18 event.


With a wide variety of committees, there is likely a place in one where one can contribute.

One committee is looking for people who can show others how to do what they can do; like make a craft, a perfect pie crust or stained glass window or create a quilt. All-day demonstrations in several locations in the village is the goal. If you have a craft or talent you can demonstrate, you could volunteer for that.


Other areas to think about include helping with old fashioned games, organizing the demonstrations schedule, the old fashioned church service and picnic, create flyers and other printed media, help with the horseshoe tournament, a Saturday night music event, getting village businesses names for tee shirts, the restaurant coordinator, or work a shift in the information booth during the event.


In the planning are a 1950s-60s music group, a Sock Hop on Main Street, a Cruise-in, possibly a horse shoe tournament, old fashioned games for children and adults (almost all non-electronic), the annual parade and an art contest for the logo on a commemorative tee shirt.


If you can contribute an idea or volunteer to help, attend a meeting Thursday, May16 at 5:30 p.m. at Foster’s office, 9426 Spring Creek Court and RSVP by calling 269-838-0060.


Leadership Barry County visits lawmakers in Lansing

State Rep. Julie Calley of Portland hosted Leadership Barry County this week at the state Capitol. Each year, a new class engages in this program to better understand community needs and resources, as well as key aspects of leadership.


Jillian Foster, director of Leadership Barry County said the visit gave the group of about two dozen a better understanding of how government works. Calley was working while they were there; she would visit for a bit and then go back to work.


The group was given a tour of the Capitol, had lunch with some lobbyists and learned how they work. Brian Calley was there and talked to them, answering questions. Foster said the activities “behind the scenes” were interesting. All in all, the 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. time spent at the state’s Capitol was "great.”


Photo: Members of Leadership Barry County gathered for a photo with State Rep. Julie Calley during a visit to the Capitol building in Lansing this week. They are Melissa Brill, Sandy Williams, Emily Churhard, Gary Platte, Kerri Steward, Stacy Mauer, Patricia Garber, Morgan Rademacher, Sarah Scobey, Diane Gaertner, Brenda Bite, Julie Calley (back row) Randy Sykes, Tom Davis, Tanett Hodge, Jenny Cusack, Jim McKelvey, Christopher Taylor, Kellie Smith, Andy Cove, Ashton Strickler, Cathy Hart-Jansma, Stephanie Skidmore and Tim Stevens.





Barry County Jail corrections officers are valuable community asset

This is National Corrections Officers and Employees Appreciation Week, when those in the corrections profession are honored for the importance of their mission, for putting themselves in harm’s way to protect the public.


When proclaiming the first full week in May as National Correctional Officers Week in 1984, President Ronald Reagan said the important work of correctional officers often does not receive the recognition from the public it deserves.


“Historically, correctional officers have been viewed as ‘guards,’ occupying isolated and misunderstood positions in prisons and jails. In recent years, the duties of these officers have become increasingly complex and demanding. They are called upon to fill, simultaneously, custodial, supervisory and counseling roles,” he said.


“The professionalism, dedication and courage exhibited by these officers throughout the performance of these demanding and often conflicting roles deserve our utmost respect. It is appropriate that we honor the many contributions and accomplishments of these men and women who are a vital component of the field of corrections,” Reagan said.


The Barry County Sheriff’s Office has 16 deputies on its corrections staff; Lt. Pete Nevins is in charge, assisted by Sergeants Kellie Smith and Ryan Argo, Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf said.


“We take a wide variety of people out of the community, some with mental or drug problems or health issues, some who have to be separated from society, some who just made a mistake and put them behind brick and mortar and razor wire and tell our corrections staff to take care of them, and they do a fabulous job for the community; they make Barry County look good,” Leaf said.


“It would be awesome if the people want to send a thank you card to the corrections staff. It would be a good reminder that they are not forgotten, that they are an extremely valuable part of our community.” Leaf brings in an ice cream cake or cookies for the corrections staff as a token of his appreciation during every national appreciation week.

Cards can be sent to Corrections Staff, Barry County Jail, 1212 West State Street, Hastings, MI., 49058.




What's next for Hastings Schools after millage fails?

The unofficial vote in Tuesday’s election showed Hastings school's millage request failed while Delton schools and Hastings Township/Library millage requests were approved by voters.


Hastings Area School System district voters rejected a .7 mill request to raise $9.9 million for repairs to all school buildings, including replacing several roofs, by a tally of 2,014 to 1,814.

Board of Education President Luke Haywood said today that addressing the school buildings critical needs, especially the roofs, will be smaller in scope and take longer than if it had been approved.

They will brainstorm with the new superintendent and community members for long term solutions. He said they may consider the limited use of the sinking fund or reduce the general fund, but stressed whatever they do can’t affect the ability of the school to continue to offer its students high quality education. It will be an “all out approach” to find the best long term plan to move forward.


Later, Superintenent Carrie Duits issued the following statement:

"Our strategic plan was developed by community members with an open invitation for anyone to participate. One of the goals in our strategic plan is to provide an excellent learning environment. Another goals is to improve our facilities to inspire excellence and pride.


"We will continue to explore ways to address our facility needs in order to accomplish these goals. This will involve establishing priorities and making some hard decisions. While we wrestle with these decisions, our students will continue to receive an outstanding education from our dedicated staff."


Also in the election, Hastings Charter Township voters approved the library’s request for a 1.6 millage renewal/increase for 10 years, 393 to 320.

Hastings Public Library Director Peggy Hemerling said she was “ecstatic” by the positive vote. “There will be no interruption of library services to Hastings Township residents and in July, Hastings Township representation on the Library Board will be restored,” she said.


Delton Schools approved $23.2 million for building and site improvements, educational technology and district-wide improvements, 1057 to 630.

"The community's approval of Delton Kellogg's bond proposal is a testament to the community's ongoing support of our students and staff,” Superintendent Kyle Corlett said. “I am very excited for our students and for the future of the district, as the bond will support some immediate needs and needs we'll face over the next couple of years.

“On behalf of Delton Kellogg Schools, I would like to thank all of the tax payers. We will work on communicating updates with bond work as soon and as often as possible. If anyone ever has any questions, feel free to contact me."



Hit and run injures bicycle rider in Ionia County

Ionia County Sheriff’s deputies are investigating a hit and run involving a pickup and a bicycle that occurred Monday at about 9:21 p.m. Deputies responded to Jordan Lake and Bonanza roads on a call of a person lying near the road.


The unidentified victim said he was traveling south on Jordan Lake when a dark colored pickup westbound on Bonanza crossed the intersection in front of him. The bicycle rider collided with the pickup at an unknown rate of speed, striking the front passenger door, authorities said.


The victim was transported to Spectrum Health Butterworth in Grand Rapids for non-life threatening injuries. He was wearing a helmet and reflective clothing.


The suspect’s vehicle is said to be a dark color about the size of a Ford F-150. The exact make and model are not known, but there may be damage to the front passenger door.


Anyone with further information on the crash is asked to contact Deputy Foster at the sheriff’s office at 616-527-5737, ext. 527. The sheriff’s office was assisted by LIFE EMS, Lake Odessa Fire Department and Ionia County Central Dispatch.



At risk of hepatitis? Get tested, BEDHD says

The month of May is Hepatitis Awareness Month in the United States. May 19 is Hepatitis Testing Day. The Barry-Eaton District Health Department (BEDHD) is raising awareness about the hidden epidemic and encouraging those at risk to get tested.


Hepatitis is a serious liver disease most often caused by one of several viruses. In the United States, the most common types of viral hepatitis are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. Millions of Americans are living with chronic hepatitis, yet most don’t know it.

People can live for decades without symptoms, but over time, chronic hepatitis can cause serious health problems. Talk to your doctor about getting tested. It could save your life. //


Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). It is often spread by eating food or drinking water that is contaminated with infected feces or by touching contaminated objects with your mouth. Hepatitis A can spread easily among people who live together and among sexual partners. It can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious illness lasting several months and can result in death.


In August 2016, a hepatitis A outbreak began in southeast Michigan, and has grown to other parts of the state. Anyone can get hepatitis, however those at highest risk are those who use illegal drugs, people who are homeless or move around a lot, people who are or were recently in jail or prison, men who have sex with men and people with existing chronic liver disease.


People can take a short quiz to see if they are at risk for hepatitis A:

 Hepatitis A can be prevented through good handwashing and vaccination, which is available for a low cost at BEDHD. To make an appointment to be vaccinated call (269) 798-4133 in Barry County or (517) 541-2651 in Eaton County. More information about the Michigan hepatitis A outbreak can be found at


Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). It ranges from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe, long-term (chronic) illness that can lead to liver disease or liver cancer. HBV is spread when blood, semen, or another bodily fluid from a person infected with HBV enters the body of someone who is not infected.


This can happen through sexual contact and sharing needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment. HBV can also be passed from an infected mother to her baby at birth. Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all infants and children age 18 and under and adults who are at risk for HBV infection. People can see if they might be at risk for HBV at


Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). It can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks (acute) to a severe, lifelong, chronic illness. For most people, HCV leads to chronic infection and may result in long-term health problems or even death. HCV is spread when blood from a person infected with HCV enters the body of someone who is not infected. Today, most people become infected with HCV by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs. Before 1992,


HCV was also commonly spread through blood transfusions and organ transplants. There is no vaccine for HCV, but it is treatable. Ninety percent of people who complete treatment will be cured of HCV.  For more information on hepatitis and Hepatitis Awareness Month, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at












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