Local News

Victim in Gun Lake boating accident Sunday identified

UPDATE: The Barry County Sheriff’s Office has identified the victim in the boating accident Sunday as Cameron Cichosz, 20, of Howell. The driver of the boat was Michael G. Butzke, 21, of Allegan. Butzke was lodged at the Barry County Correctional Facility as a result of this incident, officials said.


The doctors who assisted the victim are Dr. Lauren Azevedo, an employee of St. John Hospital of Detroit, and her husband Dr. Ryan Keating of Henry Ford Hospital of Detroit.

Both were visiting family at Gun Lake and on a pontoon boat when they heard the calls for help and swam to the aid of the injured person, who by then was back on board the boat from which he had fallen.



The Barry County Sheriff’s Office, Orangeville Fire Department and Michigan State Police responded to a boating accident on east Gun Lake Sunday at 5:17 p.m., according to a sheriff’s news release.


The report said when a 20-year-old man from Howell went off the side of an inboard boat during a turn, the stern of the boat swung over him and the propeller amputated his leg.

Fortunately, two doctors from St. Johns Hospital and Henry Ford Hospital of Detroit were visiting family, saw the need for medical assistance and quickly swam to help.

They applied a tourniquet to slow the femoral bleeding, likely saving the victim’s life, officials said. 


Orangeville Medical First Responders and other medical personnel visiting the lake also assisted in getting the victim to shore.  He was transported to Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital by Wayland EMS in unknown condition. The accident is currently under investigation by the Marine Division of Barry County Sheriff’s Office, with updates to follow.

Alcohol is a contributing factor, officials said.


Orangeville and Martin Township fire departments, Wayland EMS, Michigan State Police and Barry County Central Dispatch assisted the sheriff’s office.




Barry County Road Work today

The Barry County Road Commission will be sealcoating the following roads today, there will be lane closures and delays.

North Broadwa between M-43 to Vedder Rd.

Carlton Center Road from M-43 to North Broadway

Usborne Road & Vedder Road from Brown Road Nash Highway.





Avoiding animal in roadway causes crash on I-96

The Ionia County Sheriff’s Office reports a one-vehicle crash Monday occurred when the driver of an SUV towing a camper swerved to avoid an animal in the road. Deputies said the driver, a 55-year-old Hudsonville man, lost control, went off the roadway and crashed into trees about 3:30 p.m. on westbound I-96 near the Saranac rest area.


The unidentified driver and his juvenile passenger were transported to Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Assisting on scene were Berlin-Orange Fire, Michigan State Police, Life EMS, Reed and Hoppes Towing and Ionia County Central Dispatch.



Hastings Police

The Hastings Police Department added a new officer to their staff Monday as James Mead of Bellevue raised his right hand and pledged to defend the Constitution of the United States, the State of Michigan and the citizens of Hastings. 

Before being hired by the Hastings Police Department, Mead spent a number of weeks in training. 

He also served as a reserve officer with the Department.

He is the son of Cheryl Laws and Chris Mead.

His Grand Parents are Dave & Lois McIntyre of Hastings.


Kellogg, Del Monte issue recalls of cereal, vegetables

The Kellogg Company is voluntarily recalling 15.3-ounce packages of Honey Smacks cereal with the code number 3800039103, with best if used by buy dates of June 14, 2108 through June 14, 2019 and the 23-ounce size of the cereal with code number 3800014810 and best if used by buy dates of June 14, 2018 through June14, 2019 because the products have the potential presence of Salmonella.


Salmonella may result in serious illness, especially young children, frail or elderly people and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy people may experience fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain with the illness.


The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most persons recover without treatment, however, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses.


Kellogg launched an investigation with the third-party manufacturer who produces Honey Smacks immediately after being contacted by the Food & Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control regarding reported illnesses.

No other Kellogg products are impacted by the recall.


The affected cereal includes the following varieties distributed across the United States as well as limited distribution in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, the Caribbean, Guam, Tahiti and Saipan. The best if used by date can be found on the top of the cereal box, and the UPC code can be found on the bottom of the box.


Those who have purchased the potentially affected cereal should discard it and contact the company for a full refund. For more information visit or call 1-800-962-1413 Monday – Friday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. ET.



Monday  Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc. is voluntarily recalling a limited quantity of 6 ounce, 12 ounce and 28 ounce vegetable trays containing fresh broccoli, cauliflower, celery sticks, carrots, and dill dip sold to select retailers in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.


The recalled products are in clear plastic containers.



*Del Monte six ounce vegetable tray with dill dip with baby carrots, broccoli, cauliflower  with the UPC code 7 1752472715 2,



*Del Monte 12 ounce vegetable tray with dill dip and baby carrots, broccoli, cauliflower with the UPC code 7 1752472518 9,



*Del Monte 28 ounce small vegetable tray with baby carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and celery sticks with the UPC code 7 1752478604 3.








Del Monte, notified of the outbreak by state agencies, recalled the products because they may be linked to this recent cluster of illnesses and have the potential to be contaminated with Cyclospora, a parasite that can cause the intestinal illness Cyclosporiasis.  


The Centers for Disease Control said the infection usually is not life threatening with symptoms of watery diarrhea (most common), loss of appetite, weight loss, cramping, bloating, increased gas, nausea and fatigue.  Less common symptoms are vomiting and/or low-grade fever.


The recalled products were distributed to: Kwik Trip, Kwik Star, Demond's, Sentry, Potash, Meehan's, Country Market, Food Max Supermarket and Peapod in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin and have "Best If Enjoyed By" date of June 17, 2018 or earlier.


Consumers who have the products in the recall should dispose of the product in an appropriate waste container. For inquires, call the 24-hour customer service line at 1-800-659-6500 or email Del Monte Fresh at


Cooling Station available at Episcopal Church

With another day of oppressive heat,  Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Hastings has opened  its doors to anyone who needs a place to cool off. 


The National Weather Service in Grand Rapids says that following Sunday's hot and humid conditions, the heat index on Monday in Barry County is expected to rise to 95 degrees. 


The church has air conditioning in the Gury Parish House that is open with places to sit and relax,  wi-fi internet service, and an ice machine.


Emmanuel Episcopal Church is located at 315 W. Center in Hastings, at the corner of Broadway and Center Streets.


Summer weather is back, and so is West Nile virus

Michigan communities have been affected by West Nile virus since 2001. Most commonly caused by mosquito bites, those who live in an area with mosquitos are at risk of getting the virus and those who work or play outside at the greatest risk, according to the Barry Eaton District Health Department.


Symptoms of West Nile virus occur three to fifteen days after becoming infected from a mosquito bite and include fever, headache, body aches, and sometimes skin rash and/or swollen glands. In some cases, the virus can cause encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain, which can be fatal or cause permanent damage. If anyone develops any of these symptoms, they should call their health care provider.


West Nile virus is not spread from person to person contact such as hugging, kissing, touching, or caring for someone with the virus.


The risk of contracting West Nile virus can be lowered by following these preventative tips:

 *Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. Visit to see what repellents are EPA registered.

 *Wear long sleeved shirts and pants. Dress children in long sleeved clothing as well.

 *Use mosquito netting over strollers, cribs, beds, and when sleeping outside.

 *Install screens, or repair holes in screens around one’s home to keep mosquitos outside.

 *Mosquitoes lay eggs near water. Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out items that hold water, such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpots, or trash containers.


Dying or dead birds may indicate West Nile virus in your community, because they are carriers of the virus. If someone sees a dying or dead bird, they should report it to For more information on West Nile virus, individuals can visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at or the Barry-Eaton District Health Department’s website at





Lake Odessa man suffers serious, but non-life threatening injuries, in motorcycle crash

Ionia County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a car versus motorcycle personal injury accident near the intersection of Lapo Road and West Eaton Highway in Odessa Township on Friday about 3 p.m., according to a sheriff’s news release.


Deputies determined a 2011 Chevrolet Traverse, driven by a 24-year-old woman from Lake Odessa, was stopped facing southbound on Lapo Road waiting to turn onto West Eaton Highway when her vehicle was struck in the rear by a 2002 Suzuki motorcycle, driven by a 21-year-old Lake Odessa man, the release said.


The motorcycle operator was not wearing a helmet and suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries. He was transported to Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids. Officials said the occupants in the Traverse did not suffer any injuries.


Speed is not believed to be a factor and the crash remains under investigation. Authorities did not identify those involved in the crash. Deputies were assisted on scene by Michigan State Police, Lake Odessa and Woodland fire departments, Life EMS, Ionia County Central Dispatch, and Reed and Hoppes Towing.


Caledonia Wins State Championship

The Caledonia Girls High School Softball Team won the division one State Championship Saturday defeating Hartland 6-4 at Michigan State University.   Congratulations on winning the State Softball Championship.


WWII combat veteran of Guadalcanal and Okinawa honored by Delton Rotary

WWII veteran Louie Hall served with the U.S. Marines in the South Pacific on Guadalcanal, one of the southern Solomon Islands and the first major allied offense in the Pacific and he also served on Okinawa in the waning days of the war. Hall was an honored guest of the Delton Rotary Club on Thursday, June 14. The Rotary gave Hall an American flag presented to him by Barry County Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin Erb.


It is fitting that it was also Flag Day, with a huge American flag crocheted by Rotarian Junior Homister dominating the front of the meeting room. A 30-video of the Battle of Iwo Jima, mostly combat footage, showed the harsh conditions the Americans and their allies endured fighting the Japanese for the South Pacific islands.


Louie was a 17-year-old kid from Comstock when he enlisted in the U.S, Marines the day after his 17th birthday in August, 1942. Why the marines? “I don’t know; I just wanted to win the war…they told me I could finish high school and would not go overseas for a year. With those conditions, my mother signed for me; in October, I was aboard ship heading to the South Pacific.


The U.S.S. President Monroe, an attack transport ship carried him to New Zeeland. From there he was sent to Guadalcanal and his first combat, still 17 years old. “I was scared plenty of times,” he said.


On Guadalcanal he worked with an 81 mm mortar crew, where he pulled a two-wheeled mortar cart loaded with the heavy shells. “I never worked so hard in my life,” he recalled. His most vivid memory was when they came under machine fire and the third mortar they fired back hit the center of the machine gun nest.


He remembers arms and legs and other body parts flying into the air, “and the men all jumping up and down and waving our arms like we’d just made a touchdown.” After four months on Guadalcanal, he contracted malaria and  was shipped home to recover still before his 18th birthday.

While he recovered from malaria, he served on guard duty in the largest dry dock in the world at that time in Bayonne New Jersey, and went to intelligence school.


When he was  sent to Okinawa, “as a scout and observer, I could sit on a hill and make faces at the enemy,” he quipped.  But, he also saw combat. His most intense memory of Okinawa was, “when I saw my best friend killed by a hand grenade to the stomach.”


"That was near the end of Okinawa; when the (atomic) bombs fell, that was the end of all of it.”

When Louie returned home, he was a corporal in the 6th regiment of the 2nd Marine Division. He had also served in the 1st Division.


With a sly smile, he said: “I was in the 2nd division the first time I went over and in the 1st Division the second time when I went over”


Home for good, he went to Western Michigan University for a time, later opened an insurance business, then a printing business, printing all of the Bible Trivia series. He and his late wife June were married for 24 years and parents of Gregory, Terry, Wayne, Phil, Judy and Kathy.


The long-time Delton Rotarian now lives in Battle Creek.

Asked his thoughts about the experience. Looking back 75 years, he said: “Well, I wouldn’t do it again.”


Photos left, top:

Delton Rotary President Wendy Weaver stands with special honoree Marine veteran Louie Hall after a program and flag presentation to him Thursday.


Marine veteran Louie Hall talks with Shirley Kishpaugh before the program honoring him at Delton Rotary Thursday.










Barry County Deputy Kevin Erb salutes Louis Hall after presenting him with an American flag.










Louie Hall, a Maine veteran of combat on Guadalcanal and Okinawa in the South Pacific, smiles as he shows the American flag just presented to him.












WWII veteran Louie Hall and Delton Rotarian Junior Homister stand in front of an American Flag that took Homister 160 hours to crochet.




Superintendent's Platform

WBCH offers this space for area school superintedents to highlight activities in their districts.

This one is different; it is a letter to the school district and community from Maple Valley Superintendent Michelle Falcon announcing her resignation:


To the Maple Valley School Board, Staff, and Community,

It is with much thought and a heavy heart I tender my resignation as the Superintendent of Maple Valley Schools. My tenure in this district has been a highlight in my career and I thank you for giving me the opportunity to be the educational leader.


We have many accomplishments to be proud of. We have updated our curriculum, instructional practices, and assessment plan through a complete school improvement process. With the instructional rigor, our results have been drastic improvements in our student achievement scores.


We have improved our facilities by passing a much needed bond issue by the taxpayers and thanks to the generosity of our community. Re-opening Maplewood gave us more space and building enhancements that has restored pride and a created positive learning environments.


Our innovation in technology has created educational opportunities for our students which weren’t available before. We have implemented programs such as: virtual learning, Marketing with DECA, MV Works Electrical Program, reinstated BFS, AP & Advanced core courses, created life skills, expanded our art program also promoted intersessions, added Robotics, weight lifting, district wide PBIS and MTSS.


The proudest achievement of all is our resilient, dedicated and caring staff who, without them, none of these milestones would have been possible. Our administrators and teachers became student mentors and adopted student support programs such as the Ambassadors of Compassion and Spiritual Care Consultants which has helped hundreds of our struggling students.


Our food service department programs provided three meals a day for our students and even lunches in the summer. Our many years of summer school gave our students additional chances to become academically successful. Our community relationships have improved by creating partnerships. We have also held annual community service days as a way for our students to give back.


Little Lions Childcare and Pre School was created to meet the needs of many families in our community. Under the leadership of Annette Kent, this program has thrived in the two years we have been opened.


I am grateful to the board of education for hiring me for this position and supporting my leadership. You have taken your demanding and thankless role very seriously. Not many of my peers are as fortunate as I have been in the way you have supported me. However,


I believe it is the right time for someone with a fresh perspective to come in and carry out the vision and mission set forth by the district.

All of this boils down to relationships. The professional relationships we have created in the district has proven to persevere through many adversities this school year. I would like to thank you for your loyalty or just the fact that most of you respected the office of the Superintendent. The collegiality is what I will miss the very most.


My next opportunity is not in a superintendent’s position but takes me to Lansing where I will focus on school improvement, curriculum, instruction, and assessment. It is also closer to my home. Consider this letter my two week notice and my last day will be July 2, 2018.


With Kind Regards,

Michelle A. Falcon


Spectrum Health Pennock, community, celebrate hospital's 95th anniversary

 A hospital for the people of Barry County came from a $20,000 bequest by Barry Township farmers Eben and Elvira Pennock in 1913. With more contributions from community businesses and individuals, the new Pennock Hospital opened in 1923.


The couple could not have foreseen what their gift to the community would evolve into through the years; an acute care hospital recognized in a plaque presented to the health service by State of Michigan officials on its 95th anniversary.


A paragraph in the plaque said since its inception, the hospital has become “a vital element in helping Michigan grow and adapt to needs in health care and all aspects of life in Barry County…it has sustained itself through dedication and innovation.”

The plaque was signed by Governor Rick Snyder, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, 87th District State Rep. Julie Calley and 19th Senate District Senator Mike Nofs.


In celebration of its 95th year, the community was invited to the hospital Thursday from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. for free fresh vegetables and lunch off the grill, complete with ice cream. Also offered was a chance to learn more about the Health & Wellness Center, the deVinci system of robotic surgery, 3D mammography, innovative Parkinson’s treatment, tours of the Betty Ford Breast Care Services bus and much more.


WBCH conducted a live remote from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., with Dave McIntyre chatting with the Spectrum Health Pennock Hospital President Sheryl Lewis Blake and hospital employees highlighting the services they provide.


Photos, from top: David McIntyre, the “Voice of WBCH” interviews Spectrum Health Pennock Hospital President Sheryl Lewis Blake at the hospital’s 95th anniversary celebration.


The Raffler family from Woodland enjoy a free dinner from the grill at the hospital’s 95th anniversary celebration. Hollie Raffler (center) works in the hospital’s birthing center.


Sandra Parnell, front, and Liz Fischer hand out free fresh vegetables from the YMCA veggie van. Parnell is manager of lab services and Fischer a financial analyst at the hospital.


Kids line up for free vegetables at the Spectrum Health Pennock celebration Thursday. Tomatoes, lettuce, sweet potatoes and apples were given away in a purple Spectrum Health cloth tote.


A plaque recognizing the value of Spectrum Health Pennock Hospital to the community is presented to hospital President Sheryl Lewis Blake (right) by 87th District State Rep. Julie Calley.


Lunch off the grill, along with Moo-Ville ice cream, is served by hospital volunteers (front) Sue Mejeui, from nutritional services and Cindy Bigler, nurse practioneer.


Tours of the Betty Ford Breast Care Services waits for more visitors at the anniversary celebration at Spectrum Health Pennock Hospital Thursday.


B. Bus Mobile Library is coming to Town

The B. Bus Mobile Library, a library on wheels, will be visiting various neighborhoods throughout the area this summer beginning June 18th through August 17th, Visiting Monday thru Friday. At stops participants will have the opportunity to checkout books from children to bi-linqual to adult, listen to stories, and engage in activities. The B. Bus is operated by the 'YMCA of Barry County in colllaboration with Area Schools Hasting Public Library and Thonapple Credit Union.


WBCH will announce the B. Bus Mobile Library location each morning.  or  you can find the schedule on in our Events calendar.


Volunteers are welcome! join the B.Bus at any stop, 15 minutes early, Volunteer 3 or more times and earn an exclusive B. Bus t-shirt.  If you would like to help keep the B.Bus rolling, consider an annual monetary gift visit


Monday-TK Schools

9-10am- Thorn Barry Apartments

10:30-11:30- Cider Mill Mobile Home Park

12:30-1:30pm- Towne Center Apartments

2-3pm- Misty Ridge Subdivision


Tuesday-Hastings Schools

9-10am-Tangle Town/Bob King Park

10:30-11:30am-Hastings Middle School

12:30-1:30pm-Southeastern School Playground entrance @ Dibble

2-3pm- Baltimore Terrace Estates


Wednesday-Delton Kellogg Schools

9-10am-Fine Lake Public Access Site

10:30-11:30am-Cadwaller Park, Hickory Corners

12:30-1:30pm Prairieville Township Park


Thursday-Maple Valley Schools

9-10am- Thornapple Lake Estates Mobile Home Park

11:-12pm- Vermontville Pavilion

1-2pm- 2-3 Together in Nashville

2:30-3:30pm-Meadow Stone Area off Barfield, Hastings Area Schools


Friday- Yankee Springs

9-10am- Yankee Springs Meadows Mobile Home Park

10:30am-11:30am- The Landing on Gun Lake near to Lake Side Pizza










Crooked Lake is "community in crisis" from rising waters

Crooked Lake flooding was not on the Barry County Board of Commissioners agenda Tuesday, but it was discussed by a resident and several commission members.

Sharon Ritchie said the Crooked Lake was a community in crisis, with waters from the lake flooding homes, crawl spaces and basements. She recognized several county officials and Rep. Julie Calley for showing an active interest in solving their problem.


She said it is a health and safety issue that the people are suffering through right now and they need help to prevent more loss of homes.

Ritchie read several comments from residents telling of flooded crawl spaces and basements, damage to electrical appliance such as furnaces, loss of vehicles to the flooding, damage to property, sea walls, and plantings and unknown potential damages.


The Ritchies were supposed to be on vacation in Maine, she said, instead they are at home with 1,125 sand bags around their house, seven utility pumps and two sump pumps running 24 hours a day, seven days a week “trying to save our home from the rising waters of Crooked Lake….this is not the way we like to live at this time in our lives,” she said.

She asked for two things; stop the water from going into Crooked Lake and reduce the lake level 18inches.


Commissioners Ben Geiger, Vivian Conner and David Jackson told Ritchie they, and many others, were working to give help, urging them not to give up, with Jackson saying, “We are with you.”

“County and state officials are working diligently to find a solution for the rising waters on Crooked Lake,” Geiger said later. “Moving massive amounts of water requires careful planning, and presents a real logistical challenge, but it’s a challenge we won’t back down from. It’s my hope that a solution is found in the coming weeks.” //


Also Tuesday, commissioners approved:

* renewal of a one year Barry County Administrative Services Contract with Blue Cross-Blue Shield for Jail inmates.

* renewal of a Consulting Services, LLC agreement for $9,500 for each of three years to provide indirect cost accounting services.

* renewal of the county liability, vehicle, physical damage and property and crime insurance though the Michigan Municipal Risk Management Authority liability policy for one year for $381,067,

* an amendment to the Municipal Employees Retirement System Hybrid Plan Agreement to change the county’s maximum contribution to 2.2 percent effective Jan. 1, 2018,

* the 2018 L-4029 form for Barry County to collect summer taxes,

* the transfer of a 2001 Chevrolet panel van from the sheriff’s office to the animal shelter.

* the purchase of 12 ballistic resistant vests to replace 12 vests that expire in September from CMP Distributors.

* entry into the Michigan Farmland and Open Space Preservation Program for Jason and Jordan Scamlin in Barry Township,

* increasing the Child Care Fund budget summary from $1,034,001.14 to $1,234,001.14 and increasing the line item in the county budget from $250,000 to $450,000,

* an amendment to MERS hybrid plan to include the non-union Central Dispatch administrative assistant position to the plan effective June 1.




Lansing man drowns in Ionia County

The Ionia County Sheriff’s Office and medical first responders were dispatched about 10:30 Wednesday to Lakeside Resort and Campground, a privately owned campground on Grand River Avenue of Orange Township on the report of a man whom had reportedly drowned in the campground lake. 


Deputies were notified that a man was found in the water and was not breathing, and that bystanders had removed him from the water and began giving him life-saving attempts. He was later pronounced dead at the scene. 


The man has been identified as Pedro Lira, 47 of Lansing Michigan.  Lira had been at the campground to fish with a friend when he fell into the lake.  


Investigation also revealed that there may have been a pre-existing medical condition that caused Lira to go into medical distress and fall into the water.  This incident remains under investigation by the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with the Ionia County Medical Examiner. 





Spectrum Health Pennock Celebrating 95 years of Caring for our community

Spectrum Health Pennock will celebrate 95 years of caring for our community Thursday, June 14th. You're invited to join them in celebrating our past and future, from 3:00p.m. to 6:30p.m.  Enjoy treats from the grill and Moo-ville icecream, the YMCA Veggie Van, take tours of Betty Ford Breast Care Services Mammography bus, tour the Health & Wellness Center,daVinci Robot & free hernia screenings take advantage of the Health fair,and enter the door prizes.  WBCH is proud to congratulate Spectrum Health Pennock 95th year and will broadcast from the celebration from 3 to 6pm.



Informal Dog Park Advisory Committee to help develop Hastings ordinance

The Hastings City Council looked at the first “rough draft” of an ordinance to establish regulations for the Hastings Dog Park Monday and approved forming an informal four-member advisory committee for input on the final draft.


“We will present this draft ordinance to you for initial consideration in the near future,” City Manager Jeff Mansfield said. The advisory committee could be formally established after adoption of the ordinance, he added.


The city took control of the popular park last year and agreed to keep it open after the citizens group running the park, the Dog Park Companions Committee, notified the city they were terminating its agreement with the city, disbanding and closing the park.


During public comment time at the council meeting, Kay McNeill asked the council what the Companions Committee is doing with the money it raised during the time they were overseeing the dog park. City Attorney Stephanie Fekkes said that the Companions Committee is a community formed organization and the city is not involved in its financial affairs.


McNeill said the Companions are still asking for donations and have nothing to do with the dog park. “What do we do about that? Sue them?” Fekkes again said the city is not involved in the Companions financial activities.


In other business, questions posed by the council on a planning commission decision have led to a workshop with city planner Rebecca Harvey to explain the special use provisions used by the planning commission. A section of an ordinance allowing churches in the downtown area prompted the council to send it back to the commission for clarification.


Commission Chairman David Hatfield was going to explain the recommendation but after further conversation with Mansfield, they suggested a work session on special uses, what they are and how the commission uses them with Harvey leading the meeting.


Hatfield said they are increasingly relying on special uses in their recommendations to the council because of its flexibility and the control on hours, capacity and parking issues it gives.  He said in the future, it makes sense that he or another commission member be at council meetings to explain their recommendations. Mansfield will contact Harvey for a meeting date according to her schedule.


Also, the council approved the Municipal Employees Retirement System's 457 deferred compensation plan allowing employees the opportunity to save a portion of their wages “tax-free” to supplement the pension benefits that are provided by the city.



Barry County Road work for Wednesday June 13th

Barry County Road Commission will be sealing the following roads today.

Hammond Road & Willits Road from State Road to Willits Road & Township Line

Iroquouis Trail from State Road to Hammond Road

Woodruff Road from State Road to Hammond Road

Woodruff Road from State Road to Solomon Road

There will be lane closures and delays. Please seek an alternate route. Thank you for your cooperation!



Hastings sewer, water rates to go up three percent

Some fees for various Hastings city services were set for the next fiscal year for activities handled by the city clerk, assessor, cemetery, department of public services, planning and zoning and the police and fire departments, effective July 1.

There were very few changes other than the sewer and water rates going up about three percent;  most are the same as last year, City Manager Jeff Mansfield said.


The cost of 100 cubic feet of water goes from $1.56 to $1.61. Base charges were also raised; a meter 5/8 to ¾, the smallest meter listed, goes from $6.80 to $7.10. The largest meter, 8 inch, goes from $754.22 to $776.85.

The water system improvement fee for all new or enlarged water service connections will be $2,070, up from $2,009. Sewer rates will be $3.38 for 100 cubic feet of water use, up from $3.28.

A complete list of all the changes is available at city hall.


Also Monday, the council took Chris Morgan up on his offer to donate a piece of land to the city adjacent to the Bliss Park and Riverwalk Trail. Mansfield said the property is almost entirely in the Thornapple River floodplain with many restrictions on its use, but was “a beautiful piece of land” and would be a good addition to the park.


The council approved paying $1,800 for a Phase I Environmental study, $1,000 for a survey and $350 for closing costs. Mansfield will bring the results of the environmental study back to the council.


In other business the city will continue the inspection of rental units in the city by Professional Code Inspections. The company has done the inspections for years, and offered to renew an expiring contract to continue the registration, inspection and compliance of rental units at the same rate as last year.


Mansfield said the state law has been changed to require the tenant to allow permission to inspect the premises instead of the owner/property owner. He and PCI are working on how to comply with the change, and will also work with landlords on gaining access. The city is not required to conduct rental inspections. If the council decided not to continue inspections, it would not affect the PCI contract, they would “just not do it,” he said.


The council also approved extending a contract with Perceptive Services to assess and clean an additional 11,000 feet of sanitary sewer mains and 260 additional manholes for a total increase of $36,325.10 to the contract, leaving $126,000 in the SAW grant for the work, Department of Public Services Director Lee Hays said.




City of Hastings will market Moose property on its own

The demolition of the former Moose building and restoration of the site is nearing completion and ready to be put up for sale Community Development Director Dan King told the City Council  Monday.

King recommended the city revise the city’s original requests for proposals (RFPs) for developers who were initially interested in the Moose property at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Apple Street.


Two proposals were discussed by the council and one was approved, but ultimately both fell through. City officials determined the property would sell better without the crumbling building and had it demolished.


The council agreed to review a revised RFP at its next meeting. If approved, it would be issued immediately. The RFPs would be due back by July 20 to go to the council for consideration at its July 25 meeting. If none of the RFPs are followed up on, the city will consider the sale of the site by a real estate agent or open bidding at a public auction, Mansfield said.


However, public auctions normally result in a sale without any considerations but price, and with the apparent level of interest in the site, a real estate agent may not be necessary and would save marketing costs, he said.

King was confident a developer would be willing to pay market value for the property. The goal is to have the site sold and under development yet this year.




Barry County earns unmodified audit, "....should be proud of the results"

Kim Lindsay, CPA with the Rehmann Group, gave the report on Barry County’s 2017 audit Tuesday, saying the county has an unmodified, or what used to be called a “clean,” audit.

Lindsay said he condensed the 200-page financial report and the 25-page federal grant audit to 15 pages in a slide show.


He covered revenues, expenses, fund balances, accounts, liabilities and more, noting the complete audit will be available on the county website. A good management analysis of the county’s financial status is found on pages six to 13 in the report, he said.

The county’s financial statements are accurate and reliable and that will help them in the decision making process, he said.


Asked about the county’s standing compared with other counties, Lindsay said Barry County is “hanging in there with the best of them.”

Through the years, the county has adjusted to changes, others haven’t. Conservative budgeting and belonging to county associations helps them stay at the forefront, he said.


Auditors found one finding and a suggestion. The finding was on the preparation of a federal work schedule, “quite frankly, not a big deal,” but a few changes were made before they finished that part of the audit, he said.


The suggestion was on the reporting of payroll up to the MERS system; “just to double check. There were a few instances and some small differences” as to what the payroll records submitted showed as to actual payroll for those time periods.


“Things are in great order here,” he concluded. “I’d like to commend your outside CPA firm that provided assistance to the county, they did a great job. The records are in good shape, this is a good audit and the county should be proud of the results.”


Hastings City Council wrestles with composting site overuse

The Hastings City Council continues to try to find a workable solution to the overuse of the city composting site on West State Road. Meant as a service to city residents, the site is being overwhelmed by materials, much not compostable and an unknown amount being dropped off by non-Hastings residents.


The problem is magnified by expectations that the city will provide the service, and despite publicity, many are generally unaware that the site is for specialized materials, is paid for by the city, and is not a landfill, council members said.


In a wide ranging discussion Monday, ideas from stopping the service to farming it out to a contractor were discussed. No action was taken, but most members favored a recommendation by Department of Public Services Director Lee Hays to close the drop off area with access through a gate for residents only by a code given by city staff. Hays gave five options and preliminary costs for staff and rental of equipment for the city council to consider:


Option 1: Bi-weekly pickup on every other Monday at residents home at a cost of $1,280 a week or $17,920 a year.


Option 2: Monthly pickup on the first Monday at residents home for seven pickups a year for $2,080 a month or $14,560 a year.


Option 3: Residents drop materials behind DPS garage

for six man hours a week for $600 a week or $18,480 a year.


Option 4: Additional gates and secured access at site with staff providing weekly code. With materials, labor, equipment rental, and power to the site, $7,200 total cost


Option 5: Staff the site every other Saturday and continue the existing practice for four man hours for 14 Saturdays a year for $540 a Saturday or $7,560 a year.


City Manager Jeff Mansfield will get more definite cost figures on the options and information on contracting for the service and bring it back to the council.

Hayes recommended option 4, saying it is the only option that will control the unauthorized dumping. Hastings residents would come in or call city hall during normal business hours, provide proof of residency and be given the security code, which would be changed every week.//


He said the use by non-residents, the site being open during day for access by city employees and the site being somewhat screened from the road are parts of the problem and no matter which option is chosen, the existing drop-off area should be gated to prevent unauthorized dumping throughout the day.


In a memo to the council, Hays said they have a proposal to process the existing on site material for $30,000 to run the materials through a tub grinder to make wood chip (mulch) sized particles, then put the materials in rows and begin the composting process.


It will take five to 10 years to decompose to become viable compost material and be removed from the site. With the rate the material coming into the site, they will have issues processing all of the material into compost and maintaining compliance with the DEQ permit guidelines, he said.




Hastings Schools Summer Food Service

Monday was the first day of the Hastings Area School System's sponsored Summer Food Service Program. Free meals are available from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm to children 18 years of age and under  or persons up to 26 enrolled in an educational program for mentally or physically disabled that is recognized by a state or local public educational agency. There will be no discrimination and meals will be provided regardless of race, color, national orgin, age, sex or disibility. Additionally, adults may purchase a lunch for $4.00.


To attend at the middle school, use the main middle school entrance. If you are getting lunch at the high school, the entrance is in the back of the school by the greenhouse.


The service will runs from June 11, 2018 through August 17, 2018.  Meals will be provided Monday through Friday from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.  Transportation will be provided from designated locations throughout Hastings. 


Yankee Springs/Wayland Fire Department continues steady growth in third year

Those who live in the Yankee Springs/Wayland Fire Department coverage area get two fire department coverage for the price of one, said Deputy Fire Chief Dan Miller.


When there’s a fire, Barry Central Dispatch tones out both departments at the same time and the combined station responds; they also assists surrounding township departments.

The Yankee Springs Fire Department was formed April 1, 2016, with the approval of the Yankee Springs Fire Committee. The Wayland City Council and the Yankee Springs Township Board contracted with WFD for an initial five year contract.


The satellite fire station on Payne Lake Road was built in the late 1990s; the building of a fire department there and merger with Wayland Fire Department came after years of dissention about the cost of Thornapple Township Emergency Services contracts for fire and ambulance protection.


In a separate agreement, Yankee Springs Township residents are also served by WAEMS ambulance service based in Wayland. In the beginning, from April to October, Miller was at the station 20 hours a week setting up the department, inventory of vehicles and equipment and recruiting. He now works a minimum of 20 hours, or more, depending on demand.


“The biggest hurdle was recruitment. The eight applicants were not certified, so I set up an academy in September 2016 for firefighter one and two to graduate in May of 2017.

In May through August of 2016, they took training to become Medical First Responders (MFRs).

“Medical First Responders are a big asset to the citizens and the service,” he said.

In the first partial year, the department responded to 176 medical calls and 56 fires; in its first full year, 2017, they handled 219 medicals and 75 fire calls.//


To date, the Yankee Springs station has 14 certified firefighters, four probationary. On the medical side they have two paramedics, four EMTs, and six MFRs Miller said.

Equipment includes a Lucas automatic defibrillator, a fire rescue boat, new Genesis Jaws of Life, one engine, one tanker, two Jeeps from the DNR, and a multi-purpose vehicle that pumps water, stores medical supplies and is used for traffic control.


Wayland Fire Department has 26 firefighters with three in training, two EMTs, two MFR and five taking MFR training that Wayland’s Fire Chief Joe Miller and WAEMS Director Bob Hess set up.

Recruitment is ongoing through flyers, social media, and an electronic sign at the Yankee Springs station.

“We are two separate departments with our own identities on our equipment and clothing, but we are one department at the scene,” Miller said. “For the first time, we can help surrounding agencies. Both responding at the same time is a big plus. We work well with Central Dispatch and have since the beginning.


“It does my heart good to see the people who stop in weekly to see us open and having taxpayer dollars spent locally, Miller said. He works closely with the township, without almost daily contact and credits the board for its support in getting it up and running with personnel and equipment.


Miller likes the department being involved in the community. A veterans monument is being installed at the station and a large cardboard sign in the window with either the word High in red or Low in green on burning conditions for residents considering getting a burn permit is set daily by the DNR.


An electronic sign at the corner has general information for residents and visitors including blood drives, cleanup events and other activities. “We also install carbon monoxide and smoke detectors for free and give demonstrations and presentations,” Miller said.


They will be Tyden Park in Hastings for the second National Night Out in August to show the public the equipment they use in their jobs and answer any questions. Eventually, Miller would like to see a crew of 25 at Yankee Springs.






Pole Barn Fire

Three fire departments in Barry County responded to a pole barn on fire on West Guernsey lake road Sunday afternoon.

Orangeville Township, Prarieville Township and the Delton Fire Departments arrived on the scene to find the barn fully envolved in flames.

An Orangeville fire official said the cause in unknown, but the pole barn is being considered a total loss.

There were no injuries.


UPDATE: Body found thought to be missing Orangeville Township man

UPDATE:The Barry County Sheriff's Office is reporting that a body located near the property of the David Lukins residence is believed to be the missing Orangeville Township man. The body was decomposed; there is no indication of foul play at this time.

The death is under investigation and is pending autopsy results, the sheriff's news release said.


ORIGINAL STORY: Friends and family became concerned about David Lukins, 56, of Orangeville Township when they had not heard from him since May 26, and began to miss scheduled appointments.

Barry County Sheriff’s Office was notified on May 31, but attempts to locate Lukins have been unsuccessful. Anyone with information about Lukins is asked to contact the sheriff’s office at 269-948-4801.The matter is being investigated by Deputy Rosie O’Grady and Sgt. Rich Frazer. The Prairieville Township Police Department is assisting the sheriff’s office.



Hastings Police Chief talks school, student safety

Hastings Police Chief Jeff Pratt became chief four years ago with the retirement of former Chief Jerry Sarver. He came in with the philosophy of community policing which stresses building relationships with the public and schools. All of the officers are encouraged to be out of their cars more and interacting with the people they serve.


One initiative, the Hastings Police Cadet program with students from Hastings schools, is in its fourth year, productive and changing lives, Pratt says, “because we teach them to give back to the community. That was taught to me by Chief Sarver, I just use my approach to it.”


A school liaison officer, dormant for years because of cost, was reactivated with approval of the Hasting City Council. Sgt. Kris Miller is in the schools, interacting with youngsters, building trust of the police. He carries on with that with kids around town during his shift. “Kris is genuine with kids; you have to be, if you’re not, they see right through you,” Pratt said.


The first National Night Out in Hastings held last year drew 1,500 people. “The night is to show people the firefighters and police and ambulance personnel who are on call for them every day,” said Deputy Chief Dale Boulter, organizer of the event. “It builds on the police-community partnership, and lets the people meet and talk to emergency services personnel in a casual setting.” A second National Night Out is set for this year for Aug. 7 with expanded hours.


Pratt responded Thursday to several questions on school safety:


Do you favor teachers and others carrying guns in schools?

“No, so many bad things can happen,” he said. “I worry about how effective their training would be. Their focus is teaching and raising children, not training for an active shooter. I definitely have concerns about teachers or administrators carrying guns.”


Would you put police officers in schools?

“It would be great to have a full-time officer in every school building.”


Do you support a proposed state law mandating schools work with law enforcement on school security to qualify for funding for upgrades?

“Hastings Schools and the police department are currently doing that, especially this year with the bomb threats, which I think come from the school shootings.

“The police department and Hastings Schools have a good relationship. Superintendent Duits held a community forum to get different views and ideas from the public on student safety and invited us.”


What was the outcome of the forum?


“It was good; we listened to them. There were helpful ideas that we’re working on. It demonstrated the need for the public to step up if they want some of these changes. It may take passing a bond issue to get that.”


What do you think is the root cause of school shootings?

“There are numerous causes, and there is no one answer. It all comes down to mental health. Access to treatment has been declining through the years. My hope is that more people can get help when they need it.”

Do you see any positive signs?

“Yes, Hastings schools have done a good job of increasing the number of counselors and area schools have done a good job of protecting entrances, and that’s part of making schools safe.

“With the forum, I think we have community buy in and hopefully, it will provide bond issues for needed facility updates that are all part of student safety.


Your observations?

“When people think about student safety, they automatically think about active shooters, but it is so much more than that. I consider it an ongoing dialogue with schools.

“We’ll keep working on it, not only in schools. We work with businesses, and we’re training our own here at City Hall.

“We’ll just keep fighting the fight, hoping that something like this never happens here, but still being realistic that it may happen here.”




Safe Harbor's Biking for Bravery ready to roll June 16

Biking for Bravery, a community event featuring short and long distance bike rides for families and serious athletes is June 16 at Littlejohn Lake County Park in Allegan to benefit Safe Harbor, a Child Advocacy Center in Allegan and Barry counties.


There are 20, 50 and 80 mile routes. Check in and registration begins at 7 a.m.  The 80 mile riders take off at 8 a.m., followed by the 50 mile riders at 8:10 a.m. and the 20 milers at 8:20a.m. 


Business sponsorships start at “The Starting Line” sponsorship for $150 with website recognition and Facebook recognition; “Giving Hope” for $300, with a company booth at the event, website and Facebook recognition; “Going the Distance” for $500, with a company booth, one biking pass and website and Facebook recognition and “Biking for Bravery” for $1,000, a 4X4 company banner, company booth, two biking passes, website and Facebook recognition.


All funds will help the agency continue to provide awareness, support and hope and healing to child abuse victims in both counties.


Safe Harbor has four key values that they believe supports their vision:

*Children have the right to be heard, nurtured, protected, and supported.

*Education is essential to prevent child abuse and neglect.

*Child abuse affects the entire community and thus requires the entire community to eradicate it.

*Dedicated employees and volunteers are valued and are the key to our success.


In Michigan in 2015, 37, 370 children were victims of abuse/neglect. Nationally, one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused by the time they reach the age of 18. Safe Harbor works to stop the cycle; it is a lifeline for the most innocent victims.

Safe Harbor relies on volunteers, private grants, fundraising and donations. For more on sponsorships, call Allison at Safe Harbor, 269-673-3791, or at





Gun Lake Tribe shares $7.6 million with state and local governments

 The Gun Lake Tribe has announced its spring revenue sharing payments; the State of Michigan received $4,268,003, and the local revenue sharing board received $2,134,001.  GLIMI, an economic development entity, received $1,280,401. 

The figures are calculated from electronic gaming revenues reported from October 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018.    


“We are proud to continue offering great benefits to the local community in the form of jobs and revenue sharing payments,” said Scott Sprague, chairman of the Gun Lake Tribe.  “These economic impacts are growing through employee wages, vendor spending and state and local revenue sharing payments.”


The Tribe reinvested $76 million into an expansion of Gun Lake Casino that opened May 3, 2017.  The benefits were immediate to the surrounding community with dozens of new construction jobs, and over 100 new permanent employment positions offered.  The expanded gaming area enabled revenue to grow by nearly twenty-five percent.  


The Tribe’s revenue sharing payments are based on a percentage of gross revenue; not on much smaller profit figures.  This results in much larger payments to units of government than corporate tax payments. //


The Tribe’s business operations are also not dependent upon tax abatements as a means to justify reinvestment.  Nor will the Tribe’s operations ever relocate oversees or to other states with lower business taxes. 


As the tribal government and casino operations have grown, so too has the workforce.  The Tribe is now the fourth-largest employer in Allegan County, at 1,300 positions.  These jobs offer very competitive wage and benefit packages. 


The Tribe’s state revenue sharing payments are dependent on the continued preservation of exclusive gaming rights within its competitive market area, as defined by the tribal-state gaming compact, which also includes statewide expansion of certain lottery games.  The market area includes the cities of Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and Lansing, as well as the entire counties of Kent, Kalamazoo and Ingham, among others.


The Tribe has now shared more than $75 million with the State of Michigan, which directs the payments to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation which awards grants to businesses to invest in Michigan and create jobs.  One such project is the recently announced plans for an Amazon warehouse near Grand Rapids that will seek to fill 1,000 jobs.  The MEDC has offered Amazon $4 million to locate to Grand Rapids. 


The Local Revenue Sharing Board receives and administers the semi-annual payments.  The gaming compact prescribes mandatory funding to local municipalities for: costs incurred due to the operation of the casino, public safety services and replacement of tax revenue.

The board established by-laws to govern the distribution process.  The local payments are made under terms of the gaming compact independent of gaming exclusivity.      


Gun Lake Casino opened in February 2011 and now employs more than 1,000 team members.  The Gun Lake Tribe has now shared $109, 319,081 with state and local governments through 15 distributions.



BEDHD, farmers, offer Project Fresh produce to WIC participants

The Barry-Eaton District Health Department, (BEDHD) and local farmers are coming together to bring Project Fresh, a program that makes fresh, farmers’ market produce available to low-income, nutritionally-at-risk consumers, to Barry and Eaton County WIC participants who are pregnant, postpartum, or have children ages 1-4 years.  Even though infants 6-12 months do not qualify, all women and children qualify.


A $25 coupon booklet will be given to WIC participants to use at local farmers markets this summer to buy fresh, locally grown produce.

Coupon booklets are available at the Hastings health department office at 330 Woodlawn Avenue on Friday, June 15 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and at the Charlotte health department office at 1033 Health Care Drive, on Thursday, June 14 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.  


One booklet will be given per family. No appointment is required, but there is a limited supply of the booklets to be given out on a first-come/first-served basis.

Those with questions, including if you qualify, call the WIC office in Barry County at 269-945-9516, or the WIC office in Eaton County at (517)541-2630.


All farmers participating in Project Fresh will have a laminated yellow poster stating: “Project FRESH Coupons Accepted Here.” //


BEDHD encourages everyone to eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day for better health. Fruits and vegetables are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are naturally rich in nutrients, low in calories and fat, and able to reduce health risks such as cancer, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and other diseases. Fruits and vegetables are the original fast and easy food.



Barry County Commission deals with liability insurance and more

The Barry County Commission’s committee of the whole Tuesday addressed several issues critical to the operation of the county government. The panel recommended approval of several items at next week’s regular board meeting, including:


* renewal of the Barry County Administrative Services Contract with Blue Cross-Blue Shield that lets the county have discounted rates the company negotiates with doctors, hospitals and pharmacies for medical costs for inmates that are in the care, custody and control of the county, from July 2018 to July 2019 with an administrative fee of 11 percent per month,


* renewal of a Consulting Services, LLC agreement for three years to provide indirect cost accounting services incurred by the county with federal and state programs to assure recovery of the costs through underlying grants when possible, for $9,500 for each of the three years,


* renewal of the liability, vehicle, physical damage and property and crime insurance though the Michigan Municipal Risk Management Authority from July 2018 through July 2019 for $381,067,


* an amendment to the the Municipal Employees Retirement System Hybrid Plan Agreement to change the county’s maximum contribution to 2.2 percent effective Jan. 1, 2018, based on MERS annual valuation of the employer contribution rate to the defined benefit part of the hybrid plan of 7.8 percent. The county’s maximum contribution to the hybrid plan is 10 percent,


* the 2018 L-4029 form for Barry County to collect summer taxes,


* the transfer of a 2001 Chevrolet panel van from the sheriff’s office to the animal shelter. The sheriff’s office does not use the van much since they got a newer vehicle and the animal shelter can use it to carry more animals than the current van,


* the purchase of 12 ballistic resistant vests to replace 12 vests that expire in September from CMP Distributors for $10,260, with a grant of $4,494 from the United States Justice Department to offset part of the cost,


* entry into the Michigan Farmland and Open Space Preservation Program (PA116) for Jason and Jordan Scamlin in Section 35 of Barry Township,


* a budget amendment to the Child Care Fund increasing the budget summary from $1,034,001.14 to $1,234,001.14 and increase the residential line item in the county’s budget from $250,000 to $450,000,


* an amendment to MERS hybrid plan adoption agreement to include the non-union Central Dispatch administrative assistant position to the hybrid plan effective June 1.


D-Day 2018

Wednesday June 6th is known as D-Day. It was 74 years ago on June 6, 1944 the United States and its Allies landed on the beaches of Normandy in France, known as "Operation Overlord.  Over the next year allied  military forces attacked Nazi Germany  bringing World War Two to a close in Europe  with Germany's surrender on May 8, 1945 after four long years of war.


Barry County Road Commision Manager: status of Barry County roads is "great"

Brad Lamberg, managing director of the Barry County Road Commission, gave his annual report to Barry County Commissioners Tuesday.

“The status of the roads in Barry County is great,” he said, thanking “the people who supported us and helped us…townships have supported us, you have supported us…” he said.

The county township’s financial contributions are key to the road commission and they continue to hold steady, he said.


amberg' report presented revenues and expenditures, including a copy of the 2017 financial report, the roadwork selection process, township gravel totals, and county wide crack seals, paving and sealcoating projects.


While revenue of $12.1 million is needed for essential expenses, the BCRC receives $9.8 million, leaving an annual shortfall of $2.3 million. “While our county roads are stable and slightly improving, there is still significant need, but most of the local agencies are in much worse shape,” he said in his report.


He outlined costs to taxpayers and revenue increases of 2018 and applauded state legislators and Governor Snyder for their efforts to increase road funding. The first full year of the 2015 increases raised about $600 million a year, plus a one-time $175 million boost this year. Beginning in 2019, the state’s general funds will begin phasing in an additional permanent $600 million annually. The increases will eventually raise an additional $1.2 billion for roads by 2021, he said.


2017 marked another successful year at the Barry County Road Commission, with routine maintenance, preservation and construction projects completed successfully without significant accidents or injuries, he said, crediting “an extremely dedicated and skilled workforce and professional staff” for further increasing its responsiveness to the needs of the community.


In spite of increasing demands, inclement weather and funding shortages, the commission believes it had provided on of the best county road systems in Michigan, Lamberg said.


Also to do with the road commission, county commissioners recommended approval of a BCRC grant request from the State Disaster Contingency Fund.

The road commission spent $230,000 related to floods this spring; they qualify to apply for $94,000 of the $100,000 grants for gas, materials and overhead.



Celebrate summer; next up, the Fourth of July

Summer offers festivals, warm weather and lots of outdoor activities after months of frigid temperatures and indoor living. It’s not too early to line up your summer plans to make sure you don’t miss your favorites events.


Some Fourth of July fireworks are already set; at Payne Lake on July 3 at dusk, 10 p.m. or so, with a July 7 rain date, Barlow Lake, July 7 at 10:15 p.m. and over Gun Lake, on July 7 at 10 p.m.


For the first time, the Yankee Springs Fire Department is hosting a pancake breakfast.

Saturday, July 7, they will offer pancakes, eggs, sausage, potatoes and a variety of drinks for a donation. Proceeds will go for equipment and uniforms for firefighters.


Church Fire

Hastings Firefighters were called to the Journey Church at 1664 M-37 in Barry County's Rutland township Monday night around 9:55 pm as flames were coming from a vent. According to the  report the building was a total loss. No information on what started the fire but remains under investigation. no reported injuries.


Two injured in rollover crash on I-96 in Ionia County

The driver of a commercial vehicle pulling a covered trailer was eastbound on I-96 Friday when a tire blew and he lost control of the vehicle. He went into the median, overturned and was trapped inside, according to the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office.

The driver was extricated by fellow motorists who stopped to assist along with a Michigan State Police detective. A passenger in the vehicle was able to get out by himself, police said.


While first responders were enroute, an off-duty nurse and doctor assessed the injured men; both were taken to Sparrow Ionia Hospital for nonlife threatening injuries. Westbound I-96 Highway near Sunfield Highway was closed while aid was being given and the damaged vehicle removed.


Sheriff’s deputies were assisted by the Portland Police Department, Michigan State Police, Berlin-Orange Fire Department, LIFE and Portland Ambulance services and Reed & Hoppes Towing.


Delton Wounded Warrior competing in Department of Defense Games

U.S. Navy Diver, Chief Petty Officer Julius McManus, a 1993 graduate of Delton Kellogg High School, has  joined more than 250 seriously wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans at the 2018 Department of Defense Warrior Games June 1 - 9 at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.


During the nine days of competition McManus, the son of the late James and Darlene McManus, who have family in the Hastings area, will compete in shooting, track, cycling and swimming. 

“Participating in the Warrior Games has re-kindled my desire for competition and has helped me to remember that I am more than my injuries,” said McManus. “Learning how to compete using adaptive equipment has reinforced that I am still capable of accomplishing great things and giving back to my country, my community, and my sailors.” 

He was selected for team Navy after the competitive Wounded Warrior Trials in February at Naval Station Mayport in Florida. Team Navy includes service members and veterans with upper-body, lower-body, and spinal cord injuries; traumatic brain injuries; visual impairment; serious illnesses; and post-traumatic stress.


McManus, who now lives in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, will be competing against athletes from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, Special Operations Command (SOCOM), Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. //

“The coaches have given me the tools to become an athlete and competitor again, the Navy Wounded Warrior (NWW) – Safe Harbor staff have shown me the resources to request assistance acquiring the necessary equipment to become an adaptive triathlete using a hand-cycle and push-rim racing wheelchair,” he said.

“I can honestly say that the adaptive sports program saved my life and has allowed me to be a better husband and father than I have been in many years.”

“Adaptive sports has helped me heal by providing a sense of purpose, comradery, and a family of brothers and sisters who help me feel normal,” said McManus. “As a former athlete who fell into a dark depression and was contemplating ways to terminate existence, participation in the adaptive sports program showed me that I was not alone and that there are still ways to feel alive beyond the pain.”


"Our Navy Wounded Warrior athletes have shown incredible resiliency in their personal roads to recovery through Commander, Navy Installations Command's Adaptive Sports Program. The actions of these athletes demonstrate the Navy’s core attributes of integrity, accountability, initiative and toughness," said Vice Adm. Mary Jackson, commander, Navy Installations Command.  

“The Chief of Naval Operations has said that we will remain the world's finest navy only if we all fight each and every minute to get better.  There is no better example of this performance than what our sailors and Coast Guardsmen in the Navy Wounded Warrior Program do each and every day."


For more about the 2018 DOD Warrior Games, visit Photo: U.S Navy Diver CPO Julius McManus training for cycling competition.



Ionia County Health Department says be healthy and safe in a swimming pool

Have your eyes ever started to sting and turn red when you were swimming in a pool? Did you think it was because of the chlorine in the water? Have you ever walked into an indoor pool area, gotten a whiff of a strong chemical smell, and thought, “Wow, there’s a lot of chlorine in the pool?”


It’s actually not the chlorine. It’s chloramines - what you get when chlorine combines with what comes out of (e.g., pee or poop) or washes off of (e.g., sweat and dirt) swimmers bodies.


These types of chloramines irritate the eyes and respiratory tract and can even aggravate asthma. Healthy swimming depends on what we swimmers bring into the pool—and what we keep out of it. We all share the water we swim in, and we each need to do our part to keep ourselves, our families, and our friends healthy, an Ionia County Health Department news release said.


Here are a few simple and effective safety steps all of us can take each time we swim:

 • Stay out of the water if you have diarrhea.

 • Shower before you get in the water.

• Don’t pee or poop in the water.

• Don’t swallow the water. Every hour—everyone out.

• Take kids on bathroom breaks.

• Check diapers, and change them in a bathroom or diaper changing area—not poolside.

• Reapply sunscreen.

• Drink plenty of fluids. //


Just 2 1/2 hours of water-based physical activity a week has health benefits across a lifetime. Water based physical activity can protect the health of pregnant women by helping to regulate body temperature and minimize stress on joints during exercise as well as helping to prevent or control diabetes brought on by pregnancy.


Water based physical activity also improves women’s bone health after menopause and improves older adults’ ability to carry out everyday activities. The health benefits for children are wide-reaching, as well.


Healthy swimming is not just about the steps the pool operators and pool inspectors take—so let’s all do our part to help keep ourselves, our families, and our friends healthy this summer and year-round.


Hastings may take a closer look at its overall traffic situation

In response to a citizen complaints of unsafe conditions with congestion and motorists failing to obey yield signs on Taffee Drive, Hastings Police Chief Jeff Pratt made a report to the Hastings City Council Tuesday. He said he  went to the location and waited for 20 minutes but there was with no traffic during that time. Checking traffic records back to 2014, he found no accidents there.

“We’ll definitely keep this on our radar and work with the Department of Public Services and the city manager…we’ll stay on top of this one and others in the city.”


The traffic likely comes from motorists taking a short cut through the residential area to North Broadway to avoid using the intersection of North Broadway and State Road.

Mayor David Tossava said it looks like its inviting traffic on Taffee Drive with the double yellow line there. “Why is it even there?” he asked.


Several council members brought up other locations in the city that concerned them, prompting City Manager Jeff Mansfield to suggest the city's traffic system might be a good topic for workshops the council holds once a month when members go into depth on issues to do with the city. He said the markings may have been required as part of new bike lanes being installed in the city.


In other business, Mansfield said the city still has some improvements to do on the former Thornapple Arts Council building at Fish Hatchery Park, and when it’s done, they will make the building available for public use. Department of Public Works Director Lee Hays said more work, including painting and replacing lighting, will be done for about $4,000.


“We’ve been working on it for the last couple of years…it’s a really cool space,” Hays said. Meanwhile, Mansfield said, city staff will develop a policy, rules and regulations and a fee structure for rental of the building. “We really want to share these facilities and encourage their use by the community.”


Also, the council approved two contracts to do with the city’s sewer system; one for $26,800 to Hubbel, Roth and Clark for design services for sludge dewatering analysis and design at the wastewater treatment plant and another for $8,000 to Prein & Newhoff for engineering services on a sanitary sewer point of conflict at Market and Green streets.





Michigan State Trooper cleared of any wrongdoing in April Barry County shooting

The Barry County Prosecutor’s Office has cleared Michigan State Police Trooper David Williams of any wrongdoing in connection with the April 2 shooting of Ryan L. Miller of Middleville, a prosecutor’s office news release said Tuesday.


Evidence revealed Williams was acting in self-defense and defense of another when he shot Miller while in the parking lot of the Thornapple Valley Church in Rutland Township in Barry County, the release said.


Miller has been charged with six felonies and one misdemeanor arising from the incident: Felonious assault, resisting and obstructing a police officer, four weapons/firearm violations, and cruelty to animals causing death. He is also a habitual offender-fourth notice.

Miller faces the possibility of a total of 17 years in prison on the first six counts and one year in jail for animal cruelty. The habitual offender, fourth notice, could carry a maximum of life in prison.


A review of witness statements, videos and previous investigative reports revealed that Miller may have been attempting “suicide by cop,” by deliberately behaving in a threatening manner, intending to provoke a lethal response from a public safety or law enforcement officer, according to the release.


Miller was arraigned Wednesday in Barry County Circuit Court by Judge Amy McDowell. His bond was set at $500,000. The high bond was requested because Miller placed everyone in harm’s way during the incident. Miller’s probable cause conference on all charges is set for June 6. //


According to the prosecutor’s office, Williams was attempting to arrest Miller on several outstanding warrants after receiving a tip that he would be in the parking lot of the Thornapple Valley Church south of Hastings.


Miller, who was facing unrelated criminal charges, had left the state with his girlfriend for several days, causing concern among members of both families. When Williams entered the church parking lot, Miller attempted to drive around his patrol car, but Williams was able to block him from leaving.


When Williams got out of his car and ordered Miller out of his car at gunpoint, he refused to comply, instead he opened his car door and began to raise his hands near his head, but then lowered his hands and yelled an obscenity at Williams, while reaching into the upper left breast pocket of his coat with his right hand.


As Williams continued to order him to “get on the ground” Miller pulled what appeared to be a black handgun from his coat.  In fear for his life and that of Miller’s girlfriend, Williams shot at Miller three times. Miller continued to point the hand gun at him so Williams shot at him again, striking him in the right shoulder and left foot.  Miller’s girlfriend was unharmed, however her dog, which was in the back seat of the car, was killed.


Trooper Anthony Adams arrived a short time later and assisted Williams. Adams retrieved Miller’s gun, identified as a black BB gun, and two knives from his pants pockets. Miller was taken to the hospital where he was eventually released and then lodged at the Barry County Jail. 

A full investigation was completed and a report turned over to Barry County Prosecutor Julie Nakfoor-Pratt.


“While we are very grateful that there was no loss of human life, we are disheartened by the death of the dog, and we consider Ryan Miller responsible for that loss.  We would like to thank Dr. Seidel and Seidel Veterinary Hospital for their efforts to save the dog,” Nakfoor-Pratt said.





Hastings deals with rules on churches, storage buildings, entertainment venues

A Hastings ordinance that would allow churches in all B (commercial) Districts by special use permit was sent back to the Planning Commission for clarification on what restrictions could be imposed with a special use permit.

Council members had several questions about specific parts of the change, with Councilman Don Bowers adamantly opposed. “I don’t want to see it done…if you okay it, you have to give it to anyone who asks.”


Councilwoman Brenda McNabb-Stange said she didn’t like that pieces of prime real estate would become exempt from taxes. Bowers motion to deny it failed, the council instead voted unanimously to send the issue back to the commission. “I don’t like to vote against the planning commission, but sometimes you don’t get all the questions answered,” Councilman Al Jarvis said.


Ordinance 555, dealing with temporary storage enclosures, passed unanimously without discussion. The issue had been sent back to the planning commission for additional limits on size, locations and number of structure permitted on any property. The new wording treats the temporary enclosures similar to accessory buildings.

“The Planning Commission did an excellent job on the things I was concerned with,” McNabb-Stange said.


No action was taken on a draft ordinance dealing with entertainment venues in the city. City Manager Jeff Mansfield asked that the second reading be moved to July for more time to work on the draft. The administration and operational issues was more complicated than originally thought, and they would need more comprehensive language dealing with rules, requirements, permits and terms and conditions on the use of city’s entertainment venues. “There are some gaps in there,” he said.


The council did vote to allow a refundable $300 fee in the new ordinance for non-city users that would cover any possible costs of cleanup or repair after an event.




Second National Night Out in Hastings set for Aug.7

With the success of the first National Night Out in Hastings last year, Hastings Deputy Police Chief Dale Boulter and his committee took up the challenge of organizing a thousand moving parts to make it all come together again at Tyden Park from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 7.


Hastings police officers, Barry County Sheriff’s deputies and Michigan State troopers, area fire department firefighters and ambulance service personnel will bring their equipment and demonstrate what they do in emergency response. The event promotes a sense of community, positive public relations, safety and trust between the public and emergency services personnel that serve them, Boulter said.


Boulter is inviting all Hastings and Barry County residents to the event held nationally every year on the second Tuesday of August. With one meeting of the committee so far, Boulter got the go ahead from the Hastings City Council Tuesday.

Free food, 2,000 hot dogs were purchased last year and handed out to visitors, lots of prizes, games, a dunk tank, a free raffle and a bounce house are part of the evening.


“The night is for them to show people the firefighters and police who are on call for them every day,” Boulter said. “It builds on the police-community partnership, and lets the people meet and talk to emergency services personnel in a casual setting.”


Parking will be eased by Barry County Transit buses to shuttle people to and from various spots around town, including city parking lots. Boulter expects at least the same attendance of 1,500 or more visitors this time around. “We think this is going be another great event.”







Road work in Barry County

The Barry County Road Commission will be sealing the following roads. There will be delays as well as temporary road closures.

Saddler Road between Marsh Road and Patterson Road...
Tanner Lake Road between M-37 and Quimby Road

Please seek an alternate route. Thank you for your cooperation!


Suspect Captured in a Pond

Mutiple law enforcement agencies trudged through swamps and lakes before capturing 31 year old Keith Worthington after he eluded police twice the week before.

Michigan State Police Trooper Jereme Miller with the MSP K-9 team finally located Worthington hiding under some lily pads near the Bellevue area.

MSP investigators believe Worthington is responsible for at least 14 different home invasions in Barry, Calhoun and Eaton Counties since mid-April.

Investigators said $50,000 in  jewelry, eletronics, guns and other items were taken from homes.


Tiffany Denton, Worthington's girlfriend was also arrested. It's believed she is linked to the string of home invasions.


New Record High Temperature for Hastings

Tuesday May 29th was another hot day for Michigan including Hastings where a new record high temperature was recorded by the Hastings National Weather Service Climatological Station.

New high temperature 93 degrees.  Old high temperature for the same day in 2006 92 degrees.

Much cooler weather will begin to move in over the next few days.


Hastings City Hall staff to get active shooter training

Hastings City Hall will be closed to the public on Monday, June 11 from 8 a.m. to noon for staff to receive training in an active shooting situation, Police Chief Jeff Pratt said at the City Council meeting Tuesday.

To cover it all could take up to two days and some 16 hours, but they cover a lot of ground in four hours, he said.


Pratt is setting up a two-hour session for council members in the council chamber, but they are welcome to stop in and take the longer course, he said. Jim Yarger, director of Barry County Emergency Management, Rich Franklin, superintendent of the BISD, Barry County Deputy Marti Horrmann and Hastings Sgt. Chris Miller are instructors.


The drop off box will be open while the office is closed but while it will cause some inconvenience, Pratt and others said that getting the training is very important and that all of the staff be available to take it.


In other business, the council approved:

*Bliss Nearing Niagara holding its company picnic on June 23, at Tyden Park


*a request from the YMCA to park the B.Bus Mobile Library in different locations in the city for kids to get books.

“It’s a positive program and I certainly support it,” City Manager Jeff Mansfield said. It is also favored by the Hastings Public Library.


*holding Hastings Summerfest on Aug.24-26.


*soliciting request for proposals (RFPs) and requests for qualifications (RFQs) for design services for the Waste Water Treatment Plant, the first step in the updating of the plant.


*the appointment of Joan VanHouten to the cable access committee.



Middleville Lions 61st Memorial Day parade and ceremonies remember all those who served

For the 61st time the Middleville Lions Club sponsored Middleville’s Memorial Day Parade and ceremonies recognizing all those who served in the military, especially the veterans who died serving their country. Below are some photos of the event.




Photos, from upper left:  Grand Marshal for this year’s parade, honored veteran Cpl. Rose (LaBin) Caton, U.S. Marines.


Special parade guest Cpl. Josh Hoffman, U.S. Marines, arrives at Mt. Hope Cemetery for the ceremonies.


U.S. Navy veteran Robert Buys, who served in Viet Nam, goes over his remarks before Memorial Day ceremonies begin at Mt. Hope Cemetery.


Every parade needs a bright red fire engine. This one is from Thornapple Township Emergency Services.


Barry County Transit Trolley carries the community's Gold Star families: the Bob and Donna Roush family, Don and Candice Carver family and Dick and Linda Curtis family, proud parents of Cpl. Nicholas Roush, SPC Dane Carver and Sgt. Ryan Curtis


McFall Elementary second grade students sing and sign the National Anthem with the TK band playing for them.


Sgt. Ryan Curtis’s sister Kelly Curtis lays a wreath at the Thornapple Township Veterans Memorial to recognize and honor all veterans.


Remember all those who served.


U.S. Navy veteran Roberts Buys places a white flower at the veterans monument at Mt. Hope Cemetery during the Memorial Day ceremony following the parade Monday.


Below: A 21-gun salute was performed during Memorial Day services in Middleville to remember and honor all those in the military who died in the service of their country.



UPDATE: Motorcyclists who died in crash with tree limb identified

UPDATE: The Barry County Sheriff's Office has identified the two men as Christian Nederveld, 47, from Wyoming and Jeffery Altena, 55, from Hudsonville.


ORIGINAL: STORY:Two motorcyclists died Sunday just after 8 p.m. on Yankee Spring Road and White Pine Drive when a large tree limb fell on one of the riders and the second rider struck the same limb.

Barry County Sheriff’s deputies report a 55-year-old Hudsonville man died at the scene despite efforts to save his life. A 47-year-old Wyoming man was transported to a local hospital where he later died from his injuries. Both cyclists were wearing helmets.

The crash remains under investigation.


Deputies Shawn Olmstead and Scott Ware investigated; Yankee Springs and Wayland fire departments, Wayland EMS, Michigan DNR, Michigan State Police, Barry County Road Commission and Central Dispatch assisted.



SOS offices closed for Memorial Day

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson reminds residents that all branch offices and the Office of the Great Seal will be closed in observance of Memorial Day on Monday, May 28.

Secretary of State SUPER!Centers normally offer Saturday hours but will be closed on Saturday, May 26.

Residents are encouraged to use online services at, especially on the days after holiday weekends, which are very busy in SOS offices.




Three adults, child injured in Thornapple Township crash

Three adults were transported by ambulance and a child airlifted by Aero Med to area hospitals after a two-car crash on Whitneyville Avenue near Parmalee Road in Thornapple Township. The conditions of those involved, all Middleville area residents, is not known.


A Barry County Sheriff’s Office news release reports deputies responded to the 2.06 p.m. crash on Thursday. Their initial investigation showed a Buick Lacrosse was traveling south on Whitneyville Road when it went into the northbound lane.

An oncoming Ford F-150 swerved into the southbound lane in an attempt to avoid a collision. The Buick swerved back into the southbound lane at the same time and the vehicles collided head on, the report said.

A 42-year-old man and 28-year-old woman were in the pickup; a 70-year-old woman and five-year-old boy were in the Buick.


Deputies William Romph, Richelle Spencer, Scott Ware and Jeremiah Kimbel were the investigators.

They were assisted by Thornapple Emergency Services, Freeport and Caledonia fire departments, Mercy Ambulance, Aero Med, Michigan State Police, Michigan DNR, Barry County Central Dispatch, and Barry County Road Commission



Charlton Park Day salutes its founder and the supporters of the park

Celebrate the official kick-off to summer at the 12th annual Charlton Park Day Saturday, May 26 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Popcorn and balloons are available at the Upjohn House as you enter the village. A lunch of grilled hot dogs, chips, ice cream, and drinks will be provided to all visitors while supplies last.


The entire event is free to everyone with no tax dollars used, thanks to generous community donors. It’s a chance to get reacquainted with everything the park offers if you haven’t been in a while or to be impressed by your first visit.


WBCH 100.1 FM will host a live radio remote from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and the Barry County Sheriff’s Posse will fingerprint children. Take a tour of the village buildings and chat with volunteers about their contributions to the park. Take in the Exhibition Hall, with its farm equipment display, and watch for Civil War demonstrations throughout the day.


Master craftsmen will be in action in the blacksmith shop and fiber spinning in the township hall and samples of bread baked on a wood stove in the Bristol Inn will be served. Two bounce houses will be there for the kids to enjoy all day. 


The mission of Charlton Park Day is to honor park founder Irving Charlton and recognize the Barry County residents who have supported the park for the past 82 years. Located at 2545 South Charlton Park Road, the park is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily to swim, boat, picnic or hike.

For more information, visit or call 269-945-3775.


Photo: This boy, pictured at an earlier Charlton Park Day, is digging into his hot dog, chips and drink. There is ice cream for dessert.



May 24th Barry County Road work


The Barry County Road Commission will be sealing/edge sealing the following roads. There will be delays as well as roads closed temporarily. Please seek an alternate route, we appreciate your patience and understanding.

Maple Grove Road from Assyria Road to M-66
Clark Road from Cloverdale Road to M-79
Case Road from Lacey Road to Butler Road
Strickland Road from Hutchinson Road to Waubascon Road


Update - One dies in crash on Coats Grove Road

UPDATE: The Barry County Sheriff's Office has identified the driver of the van who was killed in the crash as 63 year old Susan Sanders of Holt, Michigan.   Undersheriff Matt Houchlei said the accident remains under investigation.


Original Story:

A two-vehicle head on crash Thursday, May 17th, at 7:31 a.m. resulted in the death of the driver of one of the vehicles, according to the Barry County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies investigating at the scene on Coats Grove Road east of Woodland Road found that a van traveling eastbound on Coats Grove with an adult and a child collided with a westbound passenger car carrying three people.


The driver of the van was deceased; a four year old child in the van was transported to Helen Devos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, officials said.


Two occupants in the passenger car suffered minor injuries, but were not transported.


Alcohol does not appear to be a factor at this time. The accident remains under investigation.

The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of relatives. Coats Grove

Road was closed for a time.


Deputies Robert Fueri and Deputy Jeremiah Kimbel investigated the crash.




Update - Barry County Sheriff investigating fatal Kiser Road crash

UPDATE:   The Barry County Sheriff's Office has identified the victim as 77 year-old Jack Hagglund of Middleville.


Original Story:

The Barry County Sheriff’s Office is reporting a 77-year-old man died at the scene of a one-car crash on Kiser Road in Thornapple Township Friday evening. A  passenger, a 78-year-old woman, was trapped in the car.  She was extricated and transported to a Grand Rapids hospital in what appeared to be non-life threating condition.


Investigating deputies said the passenger car traveling northbound on Kiser Road near Adams ran off the road for an unknown reason and struck a tree. Alcohol does not appear to be a factor in the crash. The crash is still under investigation.

Deputies were assisted by Thornapple Township Emergency Services and Barry County Central Dispatch.





Senior advocate's message: Be concerned about seniors, you may be one someday (amended)

Barry County Commission on Aging board member Sharon Zebowski has a message:

You need to be concerned about seniors, because someday, you may be one.

Zebowski attended Older Michiganian Day, billed as a platform for legislative action, on May 16 in Lansing and reported on it to the Barry County Commission Tuesday.


Created by Area Agencies on Aging Associations, the day is a chance to discuss issues that affect elders face-to-face with state legislators she said. This year’s concerns included addressing the shortage of long-term direct care workers, protecting and increasing funding for MI Choice, supporting the direct care workforce and pushing for increased funding for in-home care and preventing elder abuse, Zebowski said.


This is a chance for older adults to talk to their local representatives about their concerns before next year’s state budget is finalized in June. There were short speeches with lunch scheduled from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. so representatives could attend; both Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and Rep. Julie Calley were there, Zebowski said.


Americans over 60 are a fastest growing segment of our population, she said. “In three years, 10 million of us will be 65…and by the year 2030, one in five will be 65 or older.”


Barry County’s COA’s Meals on Wheels program has paid and volunteer drivers and has never missed a delivery for lack of a driver, she said. Contact with a driver is sometimes the only people some elders see; the drivers get to know their people and watch out for them, she said.


There was a waiting list for Meals on Wheels, Zebowski said, however, COA  Nutrition Program Coordinator Elaine Brill said while home services does have a waiting list, the meal delivery program does not..

Many counties do have a waiting list for Meals on Wheels,but because of their fundraising, Barry County does not, Brill said.





Barry County United Way 2018 – 2019 allocations announced

Twenty- Seven programs directly impacting Barry County residents will be funded this year, thanks to the generous contributions made through the Barry County United Way campaign, according to a BCUW news release.


“This is the hardest committee we ask people to serve on,” Allocations Chair Cortney Collison said. “The agencies all provide a great service to our community, deciding what level to fund them at is very difficult. 

“We are very fortunate that the Florence Tyden Groos Endowment Fund held by the Barry Community Foundation supports the administrative costs of the Barry County United Way. This allows all dollars donated to the annual campaign to be distributed to programs and services that directly impact the residents of our community,” Collison said.


Allocations provide support to agencies in four focus areas: helping youth reach their full potential, supporting families to achieve well-being and success, helping seniors find support and maintain independence and addressing urgent and emerging needs.//


Helping youth reach their full potential: 

The Barry County 4H program, $63,000

The Backpack Program, $2,344.05

Barry County Substance Abuse, $17,500

Leadership Youthquest, $3,900

President Ford Boy Scout Council, $7,000

Thornapple Parks and Recreation, $11,000

Toys for Barry County Kids, $1,294.05

YMCA, $90,000

Barry County Imagination Library, $10,000


Supporting families to achieve wellbeing and success:

Court Appointed Special Advocates, $8,000

Day of Caring, $11,438.92

Eaton Clothing and Furniture, $1,900.002

Family Support Center Crib, $8,569

Family Support Center, $40, 000

Habitat for Humanity, $20,000

Safe Harbor, $8,679

The Car Seat Program, $1,318.92


Helping seniors find support and maintain independence:

The Commission on Aging, $15,000

 In Home Services, $6,500

Hastings Community Education and Recreation Center, $5,000


Addressing urgent and emerging needs:

211, $13,500

Food Bank of South Central Michigan, $14,000

Fresh Food Initiatives and kids after school packs, $6,277,

Green Gables Haven, $58,000

Manna’s Market. $4,250

Smoke detector & carbon monoxide detector program, $365.47

Mission United and Barry County veteran’s assistance, $12,260.47

Family Economic Support Office, $8,000


Thirteen out-county not for profit 501(c) 3 health and human service agencies were designated dollars by donors totaling $4,306.  Thirteen in-county agencies that did not request funds were designated dollars by donors totaling $5,587.


Programs that are operated within the Barry County United Way are funded through grants and other types of donations include: Car Seat Education, Dental Clinic Intake, Financial Mentoring, Family Economic Support Office, Continuum of Care – Homeless Prevention and Emergency Assistance including the MEAP Utility Assistance, VSP eyeglass voucher program, Veteran’s Affairs, Volunteers in Tax Assistance (VITA) and The Volunteer Center.


For more on the programs and agencies funded by BCUW, call Lani Forbes at 269-945-4010 or visit






Learn about tick activity and tick-borne illness

With tick activity continuing to increase in Michigan, residents should know how to avoid ticks and tick-borne illness, according to an Ionia County Health Department news release.

Common tick-borne illnesses include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, anaplasmosis, ehrlichosis, and babesiosis. The best way to avoid ticks and prevent tick-borne disease is to do the following:


1) If possible, avoid shady, moist areas with overgrown grass, brush, and leaf litter. If working or recreating in areas known to have ticks, try to stay in well-groomed areas such as lawns and trails.


2) Wear light-colored clothing with a tight weave so that ticks can be spotted easily.


3) If conditions permit, wear closed-toe shoes, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt. Tuck in your shirt and tuck your pants into your shoes or socks.


4) Check clothes and exposed skin frequently for ticks. Perform “tick checks” after being outdoors, even in your own yard.


5) Use EPA-approved repellents such as those containing DEET, Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Always read and follow the directions on the label, especially when applying repellant to children.


6) Create a “tick-free” zone around your home by keeping your grass mowed and eliminating brush and wood piles, etc. Keep play and recreation areas away from woodland edges and place them on wood chips or mulch instead of grass.


If a tick does bite, remove it as soon as possible. Seek prompt medical attention if illness occurs after a tick bite. For more information on tick hot spots, tick removal, tick identification and testing, creating “tick-free” zones, and symptoms of tick-borne illness, visit and



Michigan State University Extension's value highlighted at Barry County Commission

In a report to Barry County Commissioners Tuesday, Michigan State University Extension District 7 Coordinator Erin Moore gave a broad overview of the wide range of programs, research and resources the extension brings to the county.


Commissioner and dairy farmer Heather Wing introduced Moore, saying she started in the position this spring, replacing Don Lehman who retired. MSUE is for everyone in the community to use its extension programs to help with what the community is doing, Wing said.


Moore said their mission is to create community partnerships. They work through four institutes; Agriculture and Agribusiness, Children and Youth, Health and Nutrition and Greening Michigan, its economic development effort.


The 4-H programs, with 1,000 kids enrolled as members, 42 Barry County Clubs, 761 people taking part in specialtity programs, 80 teen volunteers and 300 adult volunteers, fosters  youth development through entrepreneurship, learning animal science and disease transmission, biosecurity training, the culinary arts, and partnerships with the Barry County United Way and Sunny Crest Youth Ranch.


MSUE supports many more areas in the county through its resources, research, workshops and demonstrations. Dairy production, keeping people healthy, making the most of natural assets, local government finance and policy, food safety and personal finance, agriculture and natural resources are targets of MSUE.


“The network extension has in trainings for businesses, health, is huge, but something we underutilize. I can’t toot extension’s horn enough,” Wing said. “On the agriculture side, we’ve had so much support over the years we sometimes forget all the work they do…but as a community we underutilize it.”

District 7 covers Barry, Kent, Ottawa and Allegan counties. //


The commission also considered several recommendations from last week’s committee of the whole meeting, approving:


*the taxable value report L-4046 and L-4028 given by county Equalization Director Timothy Vandermark,


*recreation grants from the county Parks & Recreation Board totaling $10,000,  awarded to municipalities for recreation projects,


*the creation of a full-time assistant to the Control One Monitor at the county jail,


*the 2017 Homeland Security grant program agreement for Barry County, with Van Buren County as judiciary, and


*budget amendment A-18.



Home lost to fire at Sundago Park

A mobile home at 86 Sundago Park near Thornapple Lake was destroyed by fire of unknown origin shortly after noon Monday.

Hastings Firefighters found a single-wide home fully involved on arrival. Homeowners and animals were out of the home; there were no injuries. 


Hastings Fire Department was assisted by Nashville and Freeport fire departments, Barry County Sheriff’s Office and Michigan State Police. The Red Cross is providing assistance to the family.


All veterans honored with parades, ceremonies on Memorial Day 2018

Most communities hold parades and other observances on or near Memorial Day to celebrate the country’s veterans, with special honor shown to those who sacrificed their lives for their country.  A list of some of the ceremonies follows.


Details of the ceremonies follow the list.



The Hickory Corners Memorial Day Parade will be Monday, May 28 at 10 a.m. sharp at Cadwallader Park. 



The Hastings American Legion Post 45 annual Memorial Day Parade is May 28 starting at 9:30 a.m. at the comer of Boltwood and State streets.



Middleville’s Memorial Day Parade steps off from new starting point on State Street on May 28 at 10:30 a.m.



Caledonia’s Memorial Day Parade will start at noon in the village on May 28. 



The Nashville Memorial Day Parade begins at Putnam Park at 11 a.m.



Yankee Springs Township will honor the nation’s fallen heroes Sunday, May 27 at 4:30 p.m. at the Yankee Springs Fire Station.



A Memorial Day Parade at Clarksville will step off at 8:30 a.m. with visits to three cemeteries to follow.



Orangeville Township celebrates all veterans Sunday, May 27 at 2 p.m. at the Veteran’s Memorial at the township hall, 7350 Lindsey Road.  



Wayland’s Memorial Day parade steps off at 11 a.m. from the Michigan State Police Post.


The details:



The Hickory Corners Memorial Day Parade. which has been held for more than 60 years. will be Monday, May 28 at 10 a.m. sharp.  The procession starts at Cadwallader Park, proceeds through town and ends at the East Hickory Corners Cemetery with memorial services honoring departed comrades. Guest speaker is Col. Daniel J. Whipple, Battle Creek Air National Guard Base. The Simmonds-Williams American Legion Post 484 holds a Chicken BBQ immediately after the ceremony. The morning starts with a pancake breakfast at the Hickory Corners Fire Department from 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. The parade usually has 125 to 150 participants, with the Shriner’s Mini-Ts and the Gull Lake and Delton High School bands.

“This is a wonderful parade and one that has taken place for over 60 years.  Each year, the parade gets larger and larger.  Besides the highlights above, we have several tractors, horses/carriages, fire trucks from several surrounding fire departments, floats, classic cars, Boy/Girl Scout Troops, 4-H Participants and local children on their decorated bikes.  There are also a few hundred spectators that come to see our parade!” said Parade coordinator Chris Reed.



The Hastings American Legion Post 45 annual Memorial Day Parade is May 28 at 9:30 a.m.

Starting at the comer of Boltwood and State streets, the marchers will proceed to North Broadway to the Veterans' Memorial where two wreaths will be placed, one honoring all veterans and one a POW- MIA wreath. A new DAV monument will be dedicated. A rifle salute will be followed by TAPS.

At the bridge over the Thornapple River, a wreath will be placed in the waters to honor those who served on and under the seas. The honor guard will fire a rifle salute, followed by TAPS. Riverside Cemetery will be the final stop at the GAR Monument at the end of the Avenue of Flags where memorial ceremonies will be held. The grave of the most recently buried veteran at the cemetery will receive the final wreath and honors of the event.



Middleville’s 61st Memorial Day Parade, sponsored  by the Middleville Lions Club, will step off from State Street on May 28 at 10:30 a.m., travel through the village to Mt. Hope Cemetery for services honoring all veterans and fallen heroes for their sacrifice, ending with a 21-rifle salute and the playing of Taps. Gold Star families will be honored and all area veterans are invited to ride the veteran’s bus, boarding at 9:45 a.m. at 20 State Street. The Grand Marshal is honored veteran Cpl. Rose (LaBin) Canton, U.S. Marines; special parade guest is Cpl. Josh Hoffman, U.S. Marines. Look for a civilian flyover by the Hastings Flying Club. For questions or the full list up of events, call 269-795-9286 or 269-953-3373



Caledonia’s Memorial Day Parade will start at noon in the village on May 28.  Ceremonies include American Legion Caledonia Memorial Post 305 members visiting five cemeteries with short services at each; Alaska at 9 a.m., Blain at 9:45 a.m., Dutton at 10:30 a.m., Holy Corners at 11:15 a.m. and Caledonia at noon.



The Nashville Memorial Day Parade begins at Putnam Park at 11 a.m. travels through the village to Sherman Street, then to Lakeside Cemetery for a short ceremony to honor all of America’s veterans.



Yankee Springs Township will honor the nation’s fallen heroes as well as all veterans with a short service on Sunday, May 27 at 4:30 p.m. at the Yankee Springs Fire Station.



Orangeville Township celebrates all veterans who served in all wars on Sunday, May 27 at 2 p.m. at the Veteran’s Memorial at the township hall, 7350 Lindsey Road.  Following a welcome and invocation, the Pledge of Allegiance is recited and patriotic tunes performed by the Delton High School Band. Several speakers are featured during the approximately 45-minute event.

In the Deceased Honor Roll, the name of every man and woman from Orangeville Township who served their country from the Civil War to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars is read aloud.



Wayland’s Memorial Day parade entrants line up on Dahlia Street at 10:30 a.m.; walker’s line up before 10:40 a.m. in the field across from the Michigan State Police Post on North Main Street to step off at 11 a.m.  The procession  makes its way through the city to Wayland VFW Post 7581 at 753 South Main Street. The public is invited to a luncheon after the parade.



A Memorial Day Parade at Clarksville will step off at 8:30 a.m. Following the parade, Lake Odessa VFW Post 4461 members will travel to three area cemeteries for short services, at Clarksville Cemetery at 9 a.m., Woodland Cemetery at 10 a.m. and Lakeside Cemetery in Lake Odessa at 11 a.m.









Photos: Three file photos of a Memorial Day Parade in Hickory Corners show a colorful parade and a few of its supporters.




Bowling guilty of 1st degree felony murder, other counts, to be sentenced June 26

The jury was out less than two hours deciding the guilt of Ralph Bowling III, on trial for the murder of his estranged wife, Cheyenne Bowling, and attempted murder in the shooting of Nathan Farrell.


Bowling was found guilty of a total of  nine counts, including 1st degree felony murder, assault with intent to commit murder, 1st degree home invasion, 2nd degree arson and five felony gun charges.

Bowling, 41, from Woodland, will be sentenced June 28 at 8:30 a.m. The mandatory sentence is life in prison without parole.


The nearly two-week trial was held in Barry County Circuit Court with Judge Amy McDowell presiding. Barry County Prosecutor Julie Nakfoor-Pratt made the case for the state. Attorney James Goulooze represented Bowling.


After the verdict, Nakfoor-Pratt said she was” shocked, but really happy,” that the jury reached a verdict so soon. “Justice was done,” she said. A telling factor that the jury likely took into account was the premeditation argument she gave in her summation, she said.


Nakfoor-Pratt argued that Bowling had many chances change his mind during the events leading up to his wife’s murder, but did not. In the early morning hours of June 11 last year Bowling went to the home of his wife’s mother and stepfather on Bird Road where Cheyenne and Farrell were watching television.


He watched them for a time, walked back to his truck he had parked a half mile away, drove back to his house on Coats Grove Road to get his 410 shotgun and extra ammunition and returned. He broke into the house, confronted them and shot Farrell, chased Cheyenne into the yard, and shot her, killing her instantly. Nakfoor-Pratt said he “was a man on a mission” who intended to shoot his wife


“It was a crime of passion,” Goulooze said. Bowling didn’t want to hurt anyone, but he got more and more desperate when his wife left him and told him the marriage was “done.”

Bowling was so distraught that he had lost control of his life, what he did was the last ditch effort of a desperate man trying to get his wife to come back to him to be a family again. Goulooze said the gun went off when the two struggled.


During testimony, the jury heard that after he was shot in the neck, Farrell ran out of a back door, found help from a neighbor and was taken to a hospital.

After the shootings, Bowling drove to his home and set the residence on fire, planning suicide, but changed his mind and left the house.  Several hours later, after throwing the shotgun alongside a road in Ionia County, he turned himself in to authorities.





Former Moose building in Hastings coming down

The Hastings City Council made the decision to raze the former Moose building, and hired Pitsch Companies to demolish the longtime land mark at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Apple Street. The work began in a cold drizzle May 11 and continues this week.

The city purchased the building at a tax sale four years ago, and originally had two developers interested in saving it.

A proposed deal by a developer for retail on the first floor and apartments on the second floor fell through, and the other developer had by then had committed to other projects.

The city is expected to use the back part of the parcel to expand city parking lot number 8. The space fronting Michigan Street will be more attractive for development without the building, officials said.

Photos below follow the progress of the demolition as of Wednesday.






























































Letter with white powdery substance sent to 63rd District Court not a threat

A letter containing an unidentified white power mailed to 63rd District Court in Grand Rapids Monday morning disrupted court activity while authorities investigated the suspicious letter delivered by the U.S. Postal Service.


The courthouse was locked down for about three hours while Kent County Sheriff’s detectives, the FBI and Grand Rapids Fire Department assessed the extent of threat and the containment of the unknown substance.


Authorities determined that the substance had been contained and was not a threat to anyone inside or outside of the building. There have been no symptoms of exposure reported by any of the involved parties, officials said.


The investigation is ongoing, and additional testing will be conducted to determine exactly what the substance is.


Anyone with information about this situation is encouraged to call the Kent County Sheriff’s Office or Silent Observer at 616-774-2345.


Bill Porter Charity Golf Classic to benefit local charities

The annual Bill Porter Memorial Golf Outing at the Legacy on Friday, June 15,  will benefit four local organizations that will try for the top spot in the split of the proceeds. 

Green Gables Haven, Barry County Imagination Library, St. Rose School and Manna’s Market will seek the most votes from golfers that will determine what each agency will get from the event. 


The charity receiving the most votes will receive 50 percent of the proceeds; second place will get 25 percent; third place, 15 percent; and the fourth place team will receive 10 percent.


All four charities will have booths at the outing, complete with a voting box. They will recruit golf teams, provide event volunteers, obtain two hole sponsors and door prizes. Each registered golfer has four ballots to vote for their favorite charity, they can use all four votes for one charity or split their votes any way they wish. 


Two more charities:  KickStart to Career and the Family Economic Support Office will receive $500 and share in the proceeds from the Outback. The Youth Advisory Council will sell donuts and coffee prior to kickoff. For the sixth year in a row, lunch will be provided by the Hastings Downtown Restaurant Association. The contribution of the meal means additional dollars for the charities.


“This is a really fun event that has provided more than $350,000 to charities throughout our county,” said Bonnie Gettys, president of the Barry Community Foundation.


Many special events happen during the golf classic, including the big Hole in One, longest drive, 50/50 closest to the hole, closest to the hole on the second shot, closest to the hole, the longest putt closest to the line. Other surprises are also planned this year.  A traveling trophy will be awarded to the winning team.


Numerous sponsorship opportunities are available with many of them including a golf team(s). The cost per team is $200 or $50 for an individual. For more information, call the Barry Community Foundation, 269-945-0526, or the Barry County United Way, 269-945-4010.



Gun Lake Tribe offers free tire collection today, May 16

The Gun Lake Tribe will accept used tires, free-of-charge to the public today, May 16, from 8 a.m. to 5p.m.   Go to the Government Campus, 2872 Mission Drive, Shelbyville and follow the signs to the area near  the public works building.


Each household can drop off a limit of 10 tires during the free recycling event; any tires dropped off  before or after the designated time period will not be accepted.


Questions? Call the Environmental Department, 269-397-1780.




Barry County Parks & Recreation grants recommended for approval

The Barry County Board of Commissioner's committee of the whole Tuesday recommended approval of grants from the Barry County Parks & Recreation Board to three townships, a village and a school.

The grant requests included one from the youngest person ever to apply, Hastings Middle School student Dylan Smith.

Smith, a member of an advisory group at the school, was looking for more to do outside. He and his advisor, teacher Courtney Coats, submitted the request for a Gaga Ball Pit for kids to play in their free time and recess to stop them from arguing or hitting each other. Smith explained Gaga Ball to commissioners. As many students as want to can get into the medium-sized wooden structure and be the target of a student with the ball.


When you are hit with the ball, you have to get of the pit, and the winner gets to start the next game, Smith said. The grant is for $500 and the middle school PTA will help with the project.


Patricia Johns, vice chair of the Park & Recreation Board announced the grants. She said they are available to schools and municipalities to enhance recreation and must be open to all county residents, which mean in the summer months, community kids can play Gaga Ball when schools are not in session.


Johns said they send out letters to all schools and municipalities, the first telling of the grants and a reminder two weeks before the deadline to apply. There were no requests from the east side of the county this year, but she said they will continue to offer them for next year’s cycle.


The board has up to $10,000 to allot in 2018. Grant requests of $2,000 or more require 50 percent in matching funds, she said. The board can increase grants in $500 increments, if they chose.

The other grants are:

Prairieville Township asked for $1,000 for work on two of its parks; the board granted it $1,500 to improve parking areas and add mulch to playground areas.


Yankee Springs Township was grant request was for $2,000 to continue to improve the township park on M-179. “Again, the board added $500 to this grant,” Johns said.


Orangeville Township will use its $2,500 grant to continue the development of a walking trail, working with Pierce Cedar Creek Institute and the DNR to establish a native plant area along the trail to attract birds, butterflies and visitors to the area, she said.


The Village of Middleville plans to buy and install a water bottle and pet bowl water filling station near the pavilion on Main Street. Visitors and residents going to events in the village will have an easier time finding water. The grant was for $3,000 with a 50 percent match from the village.


In other business, the commissioners also recommended approval of:


* the 2018 taxable value and Headlee rollback report by Equalization Director Tim Vandermark.


* budget amendment A-18.  The changes do not affect the General Fund budget totals, Administrator Michael Brown said.


* a full time Control One Monitor at the Barry County Sheriff’s Office. Funding will come from the sheriff’s budget. The full time monitor will replace two part time assistant control monitors. The monitor is responsible for entries into the Lein system, warrants, entry of court orders, bonds, probation conditions, PPO’s, jail access control, answering the telephone, assisting other department officers and much more, Undersheriff  Matt Houchlei said.


* the 2017 Homeland Security grant program funding agreement with Van Buren County as the fiduciary agent for Homeland Security grants awarded to Barry County. The same agreement has been in force for the last several years, it will bring a $7,200 baseline funding grant and $30,000 for equipment and training for District 5.


Hastings city parking lot maintenance special assessment set

The Hastings City Council Monday approved the final special assessment roll with individual assessments in the downtown district that will pay maintenance costs for city parking lots. The total cost is set at $44,984, however the Downtown Development Authority will pay $15,962 of the bills, leaving $29,022 to be spread among business owners.


City Assessor Jackie Timmerman said the amount for each business is calculated by adding or subtracting various factors, including square footage of the lot, a use factor (the activity level) parking spaces the business has and the distance from the door of the business to the nearest parking space.


The result is divided by the total number in the special assessment district, resulting in the amount the individual business owner is billed on summer 2018 tax bills. The assessment roll shows the lowest assessment is for $25.02, and the highest is $2,678.44 and everywhere in between.


After a public hearing on the budget brought no comments from the public, the council approved the 2018-2019 budget. First readings on two proposed ordinances were also held; the first to allow churches as a special use in various zones and changes in the temporary enclosures rules. There will be more discussion on both changes at the next council meeting when the panel will act on the proposals.


A workshop was set for May 21 at 7 p.m. to talk about major improvement projects at the wastewater treatment plant and preliminary results of the Storm Asset Management and Wastewater program. Dennis Benoit, engineer from Hubbell Roth & Clark, will lead the discussion and answer questions.



Poppy days are May 17-19

The Hastings City Council Monday officially proclaimed May 17-19 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 those who have 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.


It 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 (see below).


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, Tossava read.

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 97 years.


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.



Airport manager's agreement approved by Hastings City Council

The revised City of Hastings Barry County Airport manager’s agreement was approved by the Hastings City Council Monday after being sent back to the Airport Authority for clarification of some wording.

The contract confirms Manager Mark Noteboom’s status as an independent contractor, not an employee, and had been approved by the authority. City Manager Jeff Mansfield said there was give and take and compromise, with both sides giving up some things.

As co-owner of the airport through a Joint Operating Agreement, the Barry County Commission also had to approve it, which they did May 8.


The council also approved replacing Riverside Cemetery fencing on both sides of West State Road, at the request of the Riverside Cemetery Preservation Advisory Board. The $74,000 cost of the project will come from the endowment for the cemetery’s capital improvements held by the Barry Community Foundation.


Fencing will be removed by DPS equipment and labor, except 300 feet set aside for a planned memorial. The rest will be sold to Padnos to help pay for the work. Requests for proposals for the new aluminum fencing will be asked for after July 1.



A request by American Legion Post 45 to hold the annual Memorial Day Parade on May 28 at 9:30 a.m. was approved, as was a request by Spectrum Health Pennock to use the Fish Hatchery parking lot on June 13-14 for its 95th anniversary celebration.


The council got its first look at the draft ordinance and policy regulating the city’s entertainment venues, including the Thornapple Plaza and the Spray Plaza. The policy is the document. First reading of the ordinance was set for the next meeting.


The panel went into closed session before adjournment to discuss specific pending litigation.



Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, 87th District Rep. Julie Calley speak at Hastings Rotary meeting

Lt. Governor Brian Calley and his wife, 87th District Rep. Julie Calley seldom make joint appearances and have never even ridden to work together. Given their working in the legislature in Lansing while raising three young children, they quipped they considered the Hastings Rotary Club lunch visit Monday, “a date.”


Brian Calley, who is running for Governor, had a lighthearted approach in his talk, but dealt with serious issues. He points to statistics that show Michigan is in a better place than in the early 1990s when many, “thought our state was on the wrong path…our state was not doing well.”

Balancing the budget, paying down the debt, setting firm priorities and working to improve the City of Detroit helped push the state’s revival, he said.


With 540,000 new jobs created and filled, placing in the Top Ten states in income growth, inbound migration of young people 25 to 35, and a 17-year low in the unemployment rate are all markers of success in reinventing the state. But there's more to do, he said. Promoting skilled trades is one.


In the next six years, Michigan will need 800,000 people to work in health, information technology and skilled trades fields. There are many tracks to a life-long career, he said. “There are a lot of jobs that provide a very high income that are easy to get into.”


Political divisiveness in politics today is rampant, he said, especially ridiculous is the, ‘I will fight for you’ mantra. “People brag about fighting in politics. Why not say they will work hard to make a difference?’”


His three points during his run for governor include continuing the state’s comeback by building on the foundation that’s here and not making change for change’s sake, having a candidate who can win an election and a real plan for education and economic development.  “Our people make real plans for real results.”


In her remarks, Julie said her priorities are car insurance reform, roads, getting rid of the debt, broadband for rural areas, and economic activity in rural communities.


This year is the first year for full funding from a gas tax and fee increase from January 2017 with an additional $175 millon added to the funding for this year, she said.  She cautioned that undoing 30 years of neglect won’t be done in months.


One thing that she didn’t expect in the legislature was how entangled bills get. A bill with several large reforms doesn’t get done because everyone wants to add to or take something away.

Leadership has said they will only do what benefits the taxpayers: “real savings for real families,” she said. She asked the audience to, “continue being vocal for all of us.”


Brian Calley has a background in banking; he was on the Ionia County Commission before he was elected to the 87th District rep in 2006 for two terms. He has a degree in business administration from Grand Valley State University.


Julie Calley has a degree in business management and a background in real estate management. She served eight years on the Ionia County Commission before being elected to the House of Representatives in 2016.  The Calleys live in Portland.


Green Gables hosts evening with award winning authors

Nibbles, Novelist and New Beginnings, an evening featuring four noted authors and emceed by Teri De Boer, will be presented by Green Gables Haven on May 17 at 5:30 p.m. at the Ever After Banquet Hall and Concert Center, 1230 North Michigan Avenue in Hastings. For more information or tickets, call 269-804- 6021 or


It’s an evening to enjoy cocktails and dinner while networking with colleagues, friends and best-selling authors, organizers say.  Proceeds will help Green Gables serve those in domestic violence and crisis situations.


The authors:

Wade Rouse, an award winning memoirist, writes under the pen name Viola Shipman, his grandmother, whose heirlooms and family stories inspire his fiction. The Charm Bracelet, a 2017 Michigan Notable Book and The Hope Chest have been translated into a dozen languages and become international best sellers.


Katie Hart Smith has been a published author for more than 20 years. People, places and political and social issues inspire her writing of medical, academic, historical non-fiction, fiction, and children’s stories. In 2016, she released Aspirations of the Heart, which was placed in the Georgia Governor’s Mansion Library.


Shenandoah Chefalo, a survivor and alumna of the foster care system, and co-founder of Good Harbor Institute, is a guest speaker on foster care issues locally, nationally and internationally. Author of Garbage Bag Suitcase and an e-book, Setting Your Vision and Defining Your Goals, she is working on a manuscript, Hiking for Stillness.


Mardi Link is a New York Times bestselling author of five non-fiction books, twice winner of the Michigan Notable Book Award, the Booksellers Choice Award and the Housatonic Award for Creative Non-Fiction. Her memoir Bootstrapper has been optioned for film by actress Rachel Weisz.


The evening will be emceed by Terri DeBoer, a staff meteorologist and co-host of eight West, a life style show, on WOOD-TV. A working mom most of her career, DeBoer understands the need to support women and families.






Thornapple Manor 60th Anniversary

Thornapple Manor  will observe its 60th anniversary with a celebration this friday May 18th beginning at 2:00 o'clock. The public is cordially invited to come join in as Thornapple Manor will have presentations, a time capsule, an ice cream social and pop corn located in the employee parking lot.


Graduation time is here for the Class of 2018

Graduation season is here, with ceremonies, open houses, class parties and hundreds of young people assuming the status of alumni as they go forward to a career, college or military service.

Dates for area schools graduation ceremonies are:


* Delton Schools graduation rehearsal will be May 30 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.; graduation ceremonies will take place Thursday, May 31 at 7 p.m. in the high school gym.


* Thornapple Kellogg Schools graduation ceremony for the Class of 2018 is Thursday, May 24 at 7 p.m. Ceremonies will be in the stadium and move to the gym, if necessary.


* Hastings Area School System will hold its graduation ceremonies Friday, May 25 at 7 p.m.


* Maple Valley Schools graduation ceremonies will be Friday, June 1 at 7 p.m. Baccalaureate and graduation rehearsal is Wednesday, May 30.


* Lakewood Schools will graduate the Class of 2018 Thursday, May 24 at 7 p.m.


* Caledonia Community Schools will hold its graduation ceremonies Thursday, May 24 at 7 p.m. at the High School. Tickets are required, eight to a family.


* Wayland Union Schools senior’s graduation is

Thursday, May 24 at 7 p.m. at Wayland High School gym/stadium.


Corrections officers recognized for their work

“National Correctional Officers Week” commemorates the daily contributions of all corrections officers and personnel who work in jails, prisons and community corrections.

Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf would like to remind the public that 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, corrections deputies of the sheriff’s office face unique challenges while dealing with the inmate population in a safe, efficient and professional manner.


“Please remember these outstanding employees during this week of commemoration, and thank a corrections officer for their service if given the opportunity,” Leaf said.


In 1984, President Ronald Reagan signed Proclamation 5187, creating the “National Correctional Officers Week” week in May to provide correctional officers with the respect and recognition they deserve.



Leaders of townships, villages and Hastings invited to roundtable discussions

The Barry County Supervisor’s Association’s "Lunch with Leaders" brought together many of the elected officials of Barry County in a face to face environment.


Jim Brown,  Hastings Township supervisor and chairman of the event, said to improve and expand the concept, they will include officials from the villages of Middleville, Freeport, Nashville, Woodland and the City of Hastings to the meetings the fourth Tuesday of the designated month at 1:15 p.m. in the Tyden building in Hastings. The meetings will end no later than 2:30 p.m.


The agenda for meetings is a roundtable format where officials tell what’s going on in their jurisdictions. Questions or comments could follow the presentations, Brown said, and

other topics could be brought up at the request of members.


“The basic intent is to keep informed on what is going on, no matter what the location or area in the county. Anything that happens, not matter where, in some way, affects us all,” he said.

The concept and format was discussed and approved at the last supervisors meeting in March. 


“As someone once said, ‘the only thing permanent is change,’ and this is just that,” he said.

The name of the event has been changed to “Vision Barry County.”










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