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Local News

State Police Motor Carrier Officers Join Forces to Fight Human Trafficking

During National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, Michigan State Police (MSP) motor carrier officers are teaming up with officers from neighboring states to raise awareness of human trafficking.

 

Now through Friday, Jan. 22, MSP MCOs will join with their colleagues in the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Illinois State Police and Indiana State Police, along with the organization Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT), to educate motorists about the signs of human trafficking and to enforce laws that crack down on traffickers.

 

The goal of this week-long, multi-state human trafficking initiative is to raise awareness and educate those individuals in positions to observe human trafficking taking place, such as commercial motor vehicle drivers, public transportation companies, rest area attendants and truck stop employees. 

 

The MSP first partnered with TAT in 2015 and has since been recognized as a national leader in human trafficking awareness and education. For more information about TAT, visit truckersagainsttrafficking.org.   

 

To report suspected human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Resources Center at 888-373-7888 or text BeFree to 233733.

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Lakewood Girls VolleyBall

 

For the second consecutive season, Grand Rapids Christian defeated the Lakewood Girls Volleyball Team in straight sets Saturday in the division 2 Volleyball State Championships in Battle Creek.

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State Police working with law enforcement partners to secure State Capitol

In advance of anticipated demonstrations at the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing on Sunday, the Michigan State Police (MSP) has increased both personnel and protective measures, and is working in coordination with local and county law enforcement, the Michigan National Guard and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

 

Following the January 6 siege on the US Capitol in Washington, D.C. and the resulting online promotion of marches at capitols in all 50 states, the MSP increased its visible presence at the Capitol beginning on January 11. These additional uniform resources are in addition to the MSP state properties security officers who are assigned to provide security at the Capitol.

 

“Security enhancements that have been put in place include both seen and unseen measures,” stated Col. Joe Gasper, director of the MSP. “I can assure you that we take our responsibility for safeguarding the Capitol and those who work and visit here seriously and, together with our law enforcement partners, we will be prepared to ensure law and order.”

 

In anticipation of an unknown number of demonstrators expected to gather on the grounds of the Capitol on Sunday, January 17, the MSP is again increasing its uniform presence by mobilizing troopers from across the state. MSP’s resources will be complemented by uniform personnel from the Lansing Police Department, Ingham County Sheriff’s Office and the Michigan National Guard to ensure that the greater downtown area is also protected.

 

Details about the number of officers or their specific security missions will not be shared.

“In general, we don’t discuss security measures so as not to provide an advantage to those wishing to inflict harm and cause disruption, but it’s important for the public to know that law enforcement is working together and has a coordinated plan to do everything within our power to ensure safety,” Gasper added. “We remain hopeful that those who choose to demonstrate do so peacefully, without violence or destruction of property.” There will be several road closures in effect for downtown Lansing on Sunday to facilitate ingress and egress.

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Lakewood Vikings Advance to State Final in Girls Volleyball

The Lakewood volleyball team made it look easy Thursday  in a division two state semifinal win over Pontiac Notre Dame Prep.

The Vikings were led by junior Maradith O'Gorman who had a game high 21 kills, her sisiter Aubrey added 11 kills.

Lakewood will play Grand Rapids Christian in the division two final Saturday at 2-pm at Kellogg Area in Battle Creek.

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Rutland Township seeking input to update Master Plan

Rutland Charter Township is in the process of updating its Master Plan and would like Barry County area residents to complete a survey by February 1, 2021 in order to help plan the future of the township.

 

The confidential online survey to provide your opinions may be taken using the link (below) on the WBCH website.


Hard copies can be picked up at Rutland Township Hall, located at 2461 Heath Road, to
fill out at your convenience.

 

 

Survey link:


https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/S7HH773

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Ban on Indoor Dining extended, Indoor Group Excercise allowed

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) updated its epidemic order Wednesday to allow re-opening of a few additional activities where Michiganders can remain masked and socially distanced. This includes indoor group exercise and non-contact sports. The new order is effective Saturday, Jan. 16 and will last until Sunday, Jan. 31.

 

The epidemic order continues to prohibit indoor dining in bars and restaurants, but they can continue to offer outdoor dining, carry-out and delivery. The working plan is to open indoor dining with mitigation measures, capacity limits and a curfew on February 1, but the ultimate decision depends on data continuing to stabilize. Additional details on the reopening pathway are expected next week.

 

Colleges and universities can have students return to campus for the winter semester and restart in-person courses as of Jan. 18.   

   

Previously, MDHHS had identified stabilization or declines in three metrics as critical for relaxing protocols. Although Michigan saw improvements across all three following the “pause” implemented in mid-November, some numbers have plateaued or begun to increase in recent days: 

 

-Hospital capacity dedicated to COVID-19 patients has been in 13-day decline, with current capacity is at 12% for beds with COVID-19 patients. Peaked at 19.6% on Tuesday, Dec. 4. 

 

-Overall case rates:  increasing, currently at 266 cases per million. Peaked at 740 cases per million on Saturday, Nov. 14 and declined to a low of 239 on Friday, Dec. 25 

 

-Positivity rate: plateauing; currently at 9.1% after reaching a low of 8.1% on Monday, Dec. 28 and increasing up to 10% since then.  

 

Indoor residential gatherings remain limited to 10 people and two households. MDHHS continues to urge families to avoid indoor gatherings or to pick a single other household to interact with consistent with guidance already released by the department. Families are encouraged to stay home as much as possible  to maintain momentum and to protect loved ones. Families are also encouraged to Mask Up, Mask Right, using guidance for what masks to wear and how to wear them. 

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Lakewood Girls Volleyball Advances to the State Semi-final.

The Lakewood Volleyball team beat Gabriel Richard in straight sets Tuesday night in Tecumseh to advance to a fifth consecutive state semifinal.

 

The Viking gals will take on Notre Dame Prep this Thursday at 4:30 at Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek.

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City Manager Jerry Czarnecki Summary of Monday's City Council Meeting

Hastings City Manager Jerry Czarnecki gives WBCH a summary of the January 11th Hastings City Council Meeting.

 

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Spectrum opens Covid-19 vaccination clinics in Hastings & other locations by appointment

In response to the State of Michigan expanding eligibility for vaccination, Spectrum Health today began vaccinating adults age 65 and over, and certain Phase 1B individuals such as teachers and childcare workers. 

 

Spectrum Health will launch vaccination clinics this week by appointment only in Grand Rapids, Greenville, Hastings and Zeeland with additional locations opening as more vaccine becomes available.

 

“The vaccine is a significant step forward in moving beyond the pandemic and ending the suffering and death so many have experienced because of COVID-19,” said Darryl Elmouchi, MD, President, Spectrum Health West Michigan “We are honored to be helping to distribute the vaccine in collaboration with area health departments and community partners. We are seeing overwhelming demand for the vaccine and ask for the community’s patience as we work as quickly as possible to schedule appointments and set up additional clinics. We understand that the vaccine represents hope for better days ahead, and a sense of normalcy for our lives and the economy.”

 

Spectrum Health is working with community partners and area health departments to plan additional vaccine sites across the region in the coming weeks—including clinics for under-represented communities—in an effort to make the vaccine as accessible as possible for all individuals.

 

This week, Spectrum Health will provide a total of more than 21,000 vaccinations to the public as well as to individuals in Phase 1a that the health system has been asked to vaccinate, including independent doctors, dentists and their staff. The vaccine distribution is dependent on vaccine supply, which varies from week-to-week. Scheduling will take place as Spectrum Health receives vaccine doses.

 

To find out more about scheduling a vaccination, go to www.spectrumhealth.org/vaccine. Community members are also encouraged to download the Spectrum Health app and sign up for a MyChart account, which is a key step in the scheduling process for a vaccination appointment.

 

Per the State of Michigan, essential workers, including teachers and others, should work through their employers to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination.

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Barry County Commissioners meet for first time in 2021

At the organizational meeting of the Barry County Board of Commissioners held on Monday, January 4th, newly elected Commissioners Bruce Campbell and Catherine Getty joined Commissioners Ben Geiger, Vivian Connor, Howard Gibson, David Jackson, and Jon Smelker for the online meeting held via Zoom.

 

Ben Geiger was elected as Board Chairperson for 2021, and Vivian Connor as Vice-Chair, both by unanimous vote.

 

Adoption of Board Rules, Committee assignments, and adoption of meeting schedules followed. The next Commission meeting will be held at 9am on January 12th.

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Michigan entering next phase for COVID-19 vaccinations

To help reach the state’s goal of vaccinating 70% of Michiganders over age 16 and bring a quicker end to the COVID-19 pandemic in Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) officials announced Wednesday the state is moving to a new phase of vaccination on Monday, Jan. 11.

 

MDHHS is moving forward with vaccination of Michiganders age 65 and older; frontline essential workers including police officers, first responders, frontline state and federal workers and jail and prison staff; and preK-12 teachers and childcare providers. To date, 80% of deaths have occurred among those age 65 and older. In addition to vaccinating Michiganders who are 75+ in Phase 1B (Phase 1B, Group A), MDHHS is accelerating to vaccinate individuals 65-74 years old (Phase 1C Group A). MDHHS is accelerating implementation of vaccination of individuals 65-74 years due to concern around disparity in life expectancy by race/ethnicity for this group (Phase 1C, Group A).   

 

All counties may begin vaccinating residents over age 65 and seniors are urged to visit Michigan.gov/COVIDVaccine to find local health departments and other local vaccine clinics near them that are ready to book appointments. Eligible essential workers, teachers and childcare workers will be notified by their employers about vaccine clinic dates and locations. Eligible individuals should not go to any of the clinics without an appointment.

 

It is important to note that there is limited vaccine available in the state, and so there will be limited appointments available. As more vaccine becomes available, the state will be able to move more quickly through the priority groups.  

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City Manager Jerry Czarnecki Summary of Monday's Planning Commission Meeting

City Manager Jerry Czarnecki tells WBCH about the Monday January 4th Planning Commission Meeting.

 

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Hastings Family receives 25K from personality David Dobrik

A Hastings teen looking to show her appreciation for her older sister has gone viral in a TIK TOK video, getting the attention of well-known youtuber David Dobrik according to Fox 17 News.

Katie Pattok told her family's story explaining to Dobrik why her older sister deserved help and recognition in to the new year. The familty was given  25K from David Dobrik.

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Barry County FEMA/EFSP Funding amount Announced

Barry county has been awarded federal funds made available through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)/Federal Emergency Management Agency under the Emergency Food and Shelter national board program. Barry County has been chosen to receive $28,764.00 to supplement emergency food and shelter programs in the county under Phase 38 of the program.

 

Congress has appropriated $125,000,000 to supplement and expand emergency food and shelter programs. The National EFSP/FEMA Board has also included a reallocation of $15 million in the Phase 38 awards. The total available for allocation in Phase 38 is $140 million. Barry County’s award is based upon our jurisdiction's total number of unemployed as compared to the total number of unemployed in all qualifying jurisdictions.

 

The selection was made by a national board that is chaired by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency and consists of representatives from American Red Cross; Catholic Charities, USA; National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA; the Jewish Federations of North America, the Salvation Army; and, United Way Worldwide.

 

A local board made up of the Salvation Army, Barry County Commissioners, Hastings area Ministerial Association, Continuum of Care, Commission on Aging and Barry County United Way will determine how the funds awarded to Barry County are to be distributed among the emergency food and shelter programs run by local service agencies in the area. The local board is responsible for recommending agencies to receive these funds and any additional funds made available under this phase of the program.

 

Under the terms of the grant from the national board, local agencies chosen to receive funds must: 1) be private voluntary nonprofits or units of government, 2) be eligible to receive federal funds, 3) have an accounting system, 4) practice nondiscrimination, 5) have demonstrated the capability to deliver emergency food and/or shelter programs, and 6) if they are a private voluntary organization, have a voluntary board. Qualifying agencies are urged to apply.

 

Barry County has previously distributed emergency food and shelter funds to Manna’s Market, Barry County United Way, and the South Michigan Food Bank.

 

Public or private voluntary agencies interested in applying for emergency food and shelter program funds can find the application on our website at www.bcunitedway.org or you can contact Morgan Johnson at the Barry County United Way at morgan@bcunitedway.org or 269-945-4010. Please e-mail to Morgan Johnson, mail or fax the request to:  Barry County United Way: Attention: FEMA/EFSP, 231 South Broadway, Hastings, MI  49058 fax number:  (269) 945-4536. For an application. The deadline for applications to be received is Friday, January 22, 2021 by 5pm       http://bcunitedway.org

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New Years Baby update

Barry County has New Years Babies:

 

Wayne Thomas Laws, the son of Kody and Angelena Laws of Delton was the first baby boy, born at 1:10 pm New Years day at Spectrum Pennock Hospital in Hastings.

 

But Wayne was not the first new baby of the year at Spectrum Pennock Hospital on News Day... that honor goes to Emma Kathleen Baker born at 1:00-pm to her parents Meghan and Jake Baker of Hastings.

 

Congratulations to both families.

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Power Outage

Ice, freezing rain and snow caused some power outages across Michigan New Years Day.

Consumers energy reports 4 of their customers in Barry County are out of electric service.

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Barry Community Foundation

The Barry Community Foundation has helped some businesses that were hit very hard because of the the virus during 2020.  Restaurants in Barry County have been affected the most as the governor said no indoor dining -- only takeout allowed.

 

The Barry foundation, with the help of donor groups, presented 50 restaurants with cash or purchased gift cards totaling $83,000.

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Radon Test Kits Available

Barry and Eaton County Residents can pickup free radon test kits throughout January, which is Radon Action Month.  Radon is a naturally occuring radioactive gas that comes from the breakdown of radium. Radon moves through the soil and enters buildings through cracks.

 

The test kits are available in Hastings at the Health Department at 330 W. Woodlawn Avenue.

In Delton at the Delton District Library, and in Charlotte at the Health Department at 1033 Healthcare Drive.

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City Manager Jerry Czarnecki Summary of Monday's City Council Meeting

City Manager Jerry Czarnecki tells WBCH News what took place at the December 28th Hastings City Council Meeting.

 

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COVID-19 vaccinations begin in Michigan skilled nursing home facilities

Skilled nursing home residents and staff began receiving the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine made by Moderna Monday through the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-term Care Program. Both Thornapple Manor and Hastings Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center are listed under that program.

 

The pharmacy partnership is a national initiative to provide COVID-19 vaccine to the Phase 1A priority groups of long-term care facility residents and staff. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is partnering with CVS and Walgreens through the program to manage and facilitate safe vaccination of this patient population, while reducing burden on long-term care facilities and local health departments.

 

There are about 91,000 people including residents and staff at nursing facilities, and it is expected to take about three weeks to complete vaccinations. Additional eligible facilities will soon begin receiving vaccinations including assisted living, personal care homes, residential care, adult family home, adult foster home, HUD supportive housing for the elderly and veterans’ homes. The list of sites enrolled in the program is available at Michigan.gov/COVIDvaccine.

 

MDHHS is following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for prioritization of distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines. CDC recommendations are based on input from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the federal advisory committee made up of medical and public health experts who develop recommendations on the use of vaccines in the United States. Phase 1A includes paid and unpaid persons serving in healthcare settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials and are unable to work from home as well as residents in long term care facilities. Additional information on the state’s vaccination phases is available in the prioritization guidance.

 

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Larcenies from Unlocked Vehicles

Trooper Scott Sharrar of the Michigan State Police in Hastings reports a recent rash of night-time larcenies from unlocked vehicles has been taking place in the area, with several reported Sunday night in eastern and southern Barry County.  Vehicle owners should lock their car doors and should not leave valuables in their vehicles.

 

Some residents report motion lights going off or dogs barking. If possible, check on suspicious activity or call 911 to request and area check.

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Hastings High School Band student musicians combine talents to perform "Sleigh Ride"

Enjoy this performance by the student musicians at Hastings High School, brought to you on WBCH by Morgan Electrical Services of Hastings. 

 

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Spectrum Pennock receives Covid Vaccine

Janine Dalman Manager, of marketing & Communication at Spectrum Pennock Hospital in Hastings  informed WBCH NewsThe first doses of the Covid vaccine were administered Wednesday to 30 Clinician at Spectrum Pennock Hospital,  with more to be given Saturday.

Dalman said,"The clinic went well."

 

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Power Outages

 

Strong winds from a powerful cold front pushing through Michigan is causing power outages across the state.

Consumers Energy reports:

Barry County  87

Calhoun County  380

Kent County 951

Allegan County 205

out of electric service.

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COVID-19 Vaccine Arrives at Barry-Eaton District Health Department

The Barry-Eaton District Health Department (BEDHD) on Monday received initial doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. Frontline staff at BEDHD began receiving first doses of the vaccine to prepare for upcoming mass vaccination efforts. Additional vaccines will be provided to first responders and other members of vaccine distribution Phase 1-A.

 

“BEDHD is honored to begin the vaccination process in our district,” said Colette Scrimger, MSW, Health Officer of BEDHD. “This is what public health is here for, and this vaccine will be an important step forward in protecting the health of residents of Barry and Eaton Counties.”

 

Jackie Anderson, RN, was the first individual to be vaccinated at BEDHD. "I was grateful to receive a COVID-19 vaccine today. Getting COVID-19 vaccines out to the community will be a critical step in ending the pandemic and slowly bringing life back to our new normal.”

 

The Moderna vaccine is a two-dose vaccine. The first and second doses are spaced 28 days apart. After the second dose, the Moderna vaccine is 94.5% effective at preventing COVID-19 infection. The two doses of the Moderna vaccine cannot be mixed and matched with the similar Pfizer vaccine. Both vaccines use mRNA technology. While these are the first mainstream vaccines that use this technology, mRNA technology for vaccines has been studied for some time. The Moderna vaccine is FDA-approved and safe for individuals who are aged 18 and older. “Vaccination is the best strategy to prevent the spread of disease,” said Dr. Woodall, DO and Medical Director at BEDHD. “The Moderna vaccine has been highly effective in clinical trials and BEDHD is optimistic that eventual widespread vaccination will help us beat COVID-19 in the district.”

 

After receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, individuals should continue to take precautions such as social distancing, hand washing, and mask wearing. Like every vaccine, the COVID-19 vaccine is not 100% effective. Additionally, the vaccine has not been approved for children. As such, these disease prevention measures will need to be maintained until pandemic activity is sufficiently reduced.

 

For updates regarding BEDHD’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts, please visit https://www.barryeatonhealth.org/covid-19-vaccine-information. On this page businesses, healthcare providers, and individuals in categories 1-A and 1-B can fill out a form indicating interest in receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Further questions about BEDHD and the COVID-19 vaccine can be addressed to covidvaccine@bedhd.org.

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