Local News

Rep. Johnsen to host local office hours in Hastings & Saranac on May 11

State Rep. Gina Johnsen (R-Lake Odessa) will host office hours in Hastings and Saranac on Saturday, May 11.


Local office hours are an opportunity for 78th House District constituents to meet informally with Rep. Johnsen to share their thoughts, questions and concerns. No appointments are necessary.


The meetings will take place at the following times and locations: 

  • From 9 to 10:30 a.m. at Social House located at 80 N. Bridge St. in Saranac
  • From 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Seasonal Grille located at 150 W State St. in Hastings

The 78th District covers portions of Ionia, Kent, Eaton and Barry counties. Citizens can contact Johnsen’s office at (517) 373-1796 or Mail can be addressed to Rep. Johnsen at N-1097 House Office Building, P.O. Box 30014, Lansing, MI 48909.

Tuesday May 7th School Elections

In Tuesday’s school elections voters in the Thornapple Kellogg district approved an 18 mill non-homestead operating renewal,  65% to 35%.


Voters also passed operating millage requests in the Wayland, Pennfield, and Hamilton school districts.


Bond proposal results were mixed, as Lowell district voters passed a $104-million dollar bond request to modernize facilities.  Saranac voters passed their bond request,  but bond proposals in the Plainwell, Harper Creek, and Marshall districts were defeated.

Barry-Eaton District Health Department Promotes Hepatitis Awareness Month

In recognition of Hepatitis Awareness Month this May, Barry Eaton District Health Department (BEDHD) is intensifying efforts to educate and empower the community about the dangers of hepatitis and the importance of testing and treatment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now advises hepatitis C Virus (HCV) testing for all adults at least once in their lifetime, as well as hepatitis B and C testing for all pregnant individuals during each pregnancy, regardless of age.

Hepatitis is a serious inflammatory condition of the liver, most often caused by viral infections. When the liver is inflamed or damaged, it’s function can be affected. The most common types of viral hepatitis are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C, each with its own transmission routes and health impacts. In the United States, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C are the most prevalent viral strains. Despite similar symptoms across all viral hepatitis types, their modes of transmission, treatments, and severity levels vary.

• Hepatitis A: Typically transmitted through contaminated food or water, hepatitis A can cause mild to severe illness and is preventable through vaccination and proper hygiene practices. People who get hepatitis A may feel sick for a few weeks to several months, but usually recover completely and do not have lasting liver damage.

• Hepatitis B: This type of hepatitis is spread through contact with infected blood, bodily fluids, or from mother to child during childbirth. Chronic hepatitis B can lead to liver damage, liver cancer, and even death. However, vaccination is highly effective in preventing hepatitis B infection. Most case of hepatitis B do not show symptoms, so they might not know they are infected; if symptoms do appear, they can include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, dark urine, pale stool, joint pain, and yellowing of the skin and eyes.

• Hepatitis C: Primarily spread through blood-to-blood contact, hepatitis C can result in both acute and chronic infections. If left untreated, it can lead to serious liver complications, including cirrhosis and liver cancer. Early detection through testing is crucial for effective treatment and management. Most people with hepatitis C may not show symptoms and could be unaware of their infection. Symptoms, if present, may include yellowing of the skin or eyes, loss of appetite, upset stomach, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever, dark urine, pale stool, joint pain, and fatigue

As part of our commitment to public health, BEDHD has both the hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccines available by appointment at both our offices. Two doses of the hepatitis A shot and three doses of the hepatitis B shot are recommended for children by doctors as the best way to protect against hepatitis A and B. It’s never too late to get vaccinated! Call BEDHD today to make an appointment: Barry County at (269) 945-9516 or Eaton County at (517) 541-2630. Individuals should contact their primary care provider for hepatitis testing. More information about viral hepatitis can be found at:

Hastings Board of Education Appoints Next Superintendent of Schools

At a special meeting of the Hastings Board of Education on Monday, April 29th , the board voted unanimously to appoint Dr. Nick Damico as the Superintendent of Hastings Schools.

Dr. Damico has served as a teacher and  administrator in several communities and most recently filling both roles of High School Principal and Interim Superintendent at Delton Kellogg Schools.

Staff and community met with Dr. Damico and offered thoughtful interview questions and meaningful feedback as the Board considered a strong pool of applicants.

Board President Luke Haywood noted, "this was a deep dive process and I am thankful our Board and community were all so involved."  Other Board members agreed and shared that the community developed candidate profile, made evaluation of each applicant straight forward and logical.  Secretary Jennifer Eastman said, "Dr. Damico made several comments that tell me he is genuine and committed to building relationships in Hastings."  Vice President Valerie Slaughter and Trustee Justin Peck, represented the Hastings Board in a visit to Delton Kellogg where it was clear, "they (Delton Kellogg) really don't want to see him leave."

The Board will begin contract negotiations with Dr. Damico and expect him  to begin-time on July 1st.


20th Annual Thornapple Arts Council Jazz Festival Thursday, Friday & Saturday

The Festival brings in school jazz bands & Choral Ensembles for Workshops and free performances  at various locations in Hastings. 


Thursday’s Headlining performance is the Thornapple Jazz Orchestra featuring Cheryl Thomas & Josh Doe 7:30pm at Hastings Presbyterian Church.


Friday’s Headlining Performance is The Four Freshmen performing at 7:30pm at Hastings High School Performing Arts Center.


Saturday features Jazz groups performing at the Walldorff Brew Pub, Barry Community Enrichment  Center, Hastings Public Library and Seasonal Grille.

For the Festival Schedule & ticket information visit

Vehicle Pursuit ends with Fatal Crash, Barry County

The Barry County Sheriff’s Office was involved in a vehicle pursuit in Barry County just before 10:30 Tuesday night. During the pursuit, the vehicle being chased lost control, ran off the roadway and struck a tree on Coats Grove Rd near M-66 Hwy.


Sergeant Barry Brandt said the male driver, who was alone at the time, was ejected from the vehicle and transported by EMS to Corewell Health Pennock in Hastings. As a result of the crash the male driver, later identified as a 16 year old from the Woodland area, was pronounced deceased at the hospital.  His name has not yet been released.


The investigation of the fatal crash is open and ongoing, and is being conducted by the Michigan State Police.



Barry County Central Dispatch, Michigan State Police, Woodland Township Police Department, Woodland Fire Department, Nashville Police Department, Nashville EMS, Barry County Road Commission.



Hastings Board of Education Meet the Candidate Open House

The Hastings Board of Education met following the last rounds of interviews for Superintendent. Discussions resulted in advancing Dr. Nick Damico, Interim Superintendent of Delton Kellogg Schools, for a second interview on Monday, April 29th which will include a tour of Hastings District, interaction with students and staff and a community  Meet the Candidate Openhouse from 4 to 5:30pm at the Hastings Middle School Commons, before the evening formal interview.  The Board of Education members are planning a site visit to Delton prior to April 29th.


Butcher Block Social Interview on WBCH

Our Just Pay Half today is for Butcher Block Social, the new restaurant in Caledonia. You can buy up to $50 worth of certificates for half price by going to and clicking on Just Pay Half. Justin, the owner of Butcher Block Social joined Chad this morning on the air to tell us all about the restaurant. Click to listen below:


Hastings Area Schools System Superintendent Interviews

Monday April 15th the Hastings School Board held interviews for Superintendent at the Hastings Middle School Commons with Beth Stevens, Assistant Superintendent with Hastings Area School System and Raphael Rittenhouse, Superintendent, Gull Lake Community Schools.

Friday, April 19th the School Board will interview Jaym Abraham, Principal at Caledonia Community Schools at 4pm.   Carol Dawson, Principal with Grant Public Schools at 5:15pm and Dr. Nick Damico, Principal at Delton Kellogg Schools at 6:30pm. The Inteviews will be held at Hastings Middle School Commons and Hastings Residents and staff are invited to attend.

Highway M-43 now closed north of Hastings for bridge rebuilding project

As of Monday, motorists using M-43 north of Hastings will have to seek an alternative route between Barber Road and Usborne Road west of Carlton Center. 


The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is investing $3 million to rebuild the M-43 (Carlton Center Road) bridge over the Coldwater River.  The total road closure is projected to end this fall by October 1st. 


MDOT is detouring highway traffic through Nashville on M-37, M-79, and M-66. Local traffic will need to detour the area using county roads.

Pierce Cedar Creek Institute Nature News Update

Sara Edelman from Pierce Cedar Creek Institute joined WBCH on the air with the Nature News and all the exciting upcoming events at Piece Cedar Creek! Click to listen below:


Barry County United Way Exceeds their Fund Raising Goal

Barry County United Way & Volunteer Center held their Victory Celebration Thursday Afternoon.   The organization's Fund Raising goal was $750,000.  They were able to raise $780,646.49 it is the most the United Way has raised in a single campaign.

Pipe Bomb found during Traffic Stop in Barry County

During a traffic stop Tuesday night around 5:30 pm on M-43 near Hickory in Prairieville Twp, Barry Co., MSP Wayland post troopers arrested 2 occupants, both male and from Delton. First on outstanding warrants & the second for felony firearms & possession w/intent to deliver meth & analogues.  During the search of the vehicle, a suspected pipe/ cannon bomb was located. MSP Bomb Squad responded to the scene to safely remove & disable it. Troopers were assisted by Prairieville Twp PD, Barry County Sheriff, Hickory Corners Fire Depart., & Life Care Ambulance.


Hastings City Council April 8th Meeting

Hastings City Council met Monday evening and took action on following;

Approved request from the YMCA to hold their yearly summer programs at Fish Hatchery Park from June 17th through August 9th, Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 1:00p.m.

The Council Accepted with regret the resignation of Council member Bill Nesbitt from the Library Board and Airport Commmission.

Council approved the Mayor's appointments  of Council member Norm Barlow to the Library Board and Approved Council member John Resseguie to the Airport Commission.

Council approved a contract for chip sealing from Ace Asphalt and Paving in the amount of $178,035.

Council approved a purchase order for 5,000 gallons of unleaded gasoline from Crystal Flash in the amounty of $13,100.

Council approved the purchase of a Digital Watchdog CCTV surveillance system from Riverside Integrated Systems Inc. in the amount of $8,219.

Council directed staff to maintain the closure of the RV Dump Station.

The Council scheduled the FY 2024-2025 budget workshop for April 22, 2024 at 6pm.


Hastings Board of Education Selects Five Candidates to Interview for Superintendent

Hastings Board of Education met Monday evening to review applications for the district's next Superintendent.  Board members were unanimous in selecting five applicants who best match the community developed candidate profile.  They are:


Jaym Abraham, a Principal at Caledonia

Dr. Nick Damico, a Principal at Delton Kellogg

Carol Dawson, a Principal at Grant

Raphael Rittenhouse, Superintendent at Gull Lake

Beth Stevens, an Assistant Superintendent in Hastings


Interviews will be held on April 15th and April 19th in the Hastings Middle School Commons.   The staff and community are encouraged to participate

Middleville Downtown Authority Board Member Openings

Middleville DDA currently has three open positions.  The DDA members attend monthly meetings, review meeting packets from the DDA Director prior to the meeting, consider and act on plans to enhance the downtown district, promote economic growth, and foster new opportunities for developement.  The DDA board operates under the Michigan Recodified Tax Increment Financing Act 57 of 2018.  For more information regarding DDA Board Member duties and responsibilities contact the DDA Director,

The DDA Board Member application can be found  or at the Middleville Village Hall, 100 E. Main Street.


Delton Kellogg Schools call for Half Day April 8th

Delton Kellogg Schools posted on Facebook that they will have a half day on Monday, April 8th.  This decision has been made in light of the Solar Eclipse, with peak time expected around 3:11p.m.  For student safety, the decision to not have busses run their afternoon routes during the Solar Eclipse and concern for distracted drivers on the road and students exiting the busses safely errs on the side of caution.  Viewing the eclipse without proper eye protection can be harmful by ending the school day early students can have the opportunity to safely observe the eclipse with their family.

DK Daycare (Panther Clubhouse) will be open for the half day.

Spring Athletic coaches will communicate with their teams for the Monday plan.

Maple Valley Schools change school day due to Solar Eclipse

As the historic Solar Eclipse approaches this Monday April 8th, Maple Valley Public Schools have changed their school day schedule for this Monday to a half day.

Superintendent Dr. Katherine Bertolini said "The peak of the eclipse will occur during our typical release and transport time home.  Because we do not have sufficient staff to supervise students for their safety, we are going to dismiss school according to our half day schedule. Looking directly at the sun, even during an eclipse, can cause serious eye damage. Therefore, it's important for everyone, especially our students, to stay safe while viewing the eclipse."

Bertolini asks parents to please talk to your children about the importance of not looking directly at the sun without proper eye protection. They should use approved solar viewing glasses or viewers that meet safety standards to observe the eclipse safely. These glasses can be purchased locally and online using the ACE Hardware app if you want to plan a family event to watch the eclipse safely. 

For more information on eye safety during a solar eclipse, visit

Allegan Co. Bicyclist struck by car

On Monday afternoon Allegan County Central Dispatch received a call of an injury crash 104th Ave near 18th St in Otsego Township. When Officers arrived on it was found a bicyclist was struck by a motorist. The bicyclist suffered serious injuries and is listed in critical condition. The driver of the vehicle was uninjured. The bicyclist was transported to a local hospital for treatment.


Alcohol and speed are not believed to be a factor in the crash and there is currently an ongoing investigation.


The names of the involved are not being released at this time and the case is being investigated by the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office.


The Allegan County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Otsego Police Department, Otsego Fire Department, Plainwell EMS, and Allegan Central Dispatch.



Fatal Crash

The Barry County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a single vehicle fatal traffic crash, which occurred Monday morning on Devine Rd. near Thornapple Lake Rd. in Castleton Twp.


The preliminary investigation revealed a Chevrolet Aveo was traveling north on Devine Rd. The driver of the Chevrolet was a 32 year old male from Vermontville. The vehicle left the roadway to the right where it collided with an embankment and rolled.


The driver was ejected from the vehicle and was found unresponsive. Despite lifesaving efforts he was pronounced deceased at the scene.


The crash remains under investigation.


Assisting agencies included the Nashville Fire Department, Nashville EMS, Michigan State Police, Barry County Central Dispatch, Goldsworthy’s Towing, Western Medicine Office of the Medical Examiner.



Turning Tulips into Smiles

On Wednesday, March 27,  WBCH and Barlow Florist delivered fresh blooming potted tulips to over 400 residents of Carveth Village, Woodlawn Meadows, Clearstream Rehab & Nursing Center,  and Thornapple Manor–Cottages–Harvest Pointe to wish them all Happy Easter.


This is an annual project called “Sharing the Joy of Easter” and is made possible by title sponsors Pat Doezema Realty Group and Gun Lake Casino, as well as over 30 other local businesses that generously sponsor the program which is spearheaded each year by WBCH.


It gladdens the hearts of the residents and their faces ‘light up’ when they receive their own tulip plants that they can enjoy and care for in their rooms,  marking the early Spring and Easter season.  After the plants have stopped blooming, the bulbs can be transplanted outdoors around the nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Hastings Birch Fire Department

Hastings Birch Fire Department has free Smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarms for residents in the Hastings District.   The Fire Department welcomes the opportunity to visit facilities to discuss fire safety and awareness.

There is also a new Burn Permit phone number, 269-945-5384 ext. 1. Permits are available Monday thru Friday 7am to 4pm.  If calling outside business hours, please leave a detailed message and your call will be returned during business hours.

Lawmakers introduce bill to rename a part of M-6

Michigan lawmakers introduced a new bill this week that would  rename a section of freeway M-6 after 25 year old Keagan Spencer of Hastings, a tow truck driver who was struck and killed while trying to rescue a dog.

Michigan State Police said a car went out of control near Kraft Avenue, crossed over the road and hit Spencer..  The new bill if passed would rename M-6 to "Keagan Spencer Memorial Highway" between Kalamazoo Avenue and 60th Street.

State Police Investigating Fatal Traffic Crash

Michigan State Police Wayland Post troopers are investigating a single vehicle  rollover crash that occurred Tuesday March 5 around 7:00 p.m. on eastbound 134th Ave near 42nd St, in Heath Twp. The driver, identified as a 49-year-old Hamilton man, suffered life-threatening injuries, and was initially taken to Holland Hospital for care. He was later transferred to Grand Rapids Butterworth Hospital where he died.

Police say the driver loss control while traveling east on 134th Ave, ran off the roadway then overturned before colliding into a fence. Evidence at the scene suggested the driver was not wearing his seatbelt and that alcohol is believed to be a factor.

Troopers were assisted at the scene by Allegan County Sheriff’s Office, Hamilton Fire/ Rescue, and Holland AMR Ambulance.

This crash remains open pending further investigation.


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