Local News

Tuesday's primary sets November's General Election ballot. Vote!

The general election held every four years has a daunting list of various offices at the federal, state, county, city and village levels to be decided by voters. The first step in the process is the primary election Aug. 4 to determine the candidates on the Nov. 3 general election ballot.


The following is a run-down of the local positions and millage proposals in the Barry County primary.



NPA= no party affiliation



District 1: Howard R. Gibson (R), Martha Reyff-Banash (D)

District 2: Catherine Getty (R), Cody Hayes (D)

District 3: David Jackson (R)

District 4: Jon Smelker (R), Rich Burtts (US Taxpayers)

District 5: Ben Geiger (R)

District 6: Vivian Lee Conner (R)

District 7: Bruce D. Campbell (R), Ben McLeod (R)



Sheriff: Dar Leaf (R)

Register of Deeds: Barbara D. Hurless (R), Jordan Brehm (D), Heather L.Wing (R).

County Clerk: Pam Palmer (R)

Prosecutor: Julie Nakfoor-Pratt (R)

Drain Commissioner: Jim Dull (R), Kyle Staines (R)

Treasurer: Susan VandeCar (R), Jennifer Meyer, (D), Susan Vlietstra (R), Justin Straube (R)

 Surveyor: Brian Reynolds (R)




Supervisor: Mike Timmons (R), Thomas J. Wing (R)

Clerk: Annette J. Terry (R), Tandra S. Angus (R),

Treasurer: Terry Ryder Stephens (D)

Trustee: James D. Miller (R) (two seats)



Supervisor: Chad VanSyckle (R)

Clerk: Penelope J. Ypma (D)

Treasurer: Melissa L. VanSyckle (R)

Trustee: Michael Altoft (NPA), Gerard R. Ypma (R), Aaron VanSyckle (R) (two seats)



Supervisor: Wesley Kahler (R), Rodney Dye (NPA)

Clerk: Debra Knight (R)

Treasurer: Judith E. Wooer (R) Michael Dye (R) Ingrid Pagano (R)

Trustee: Lee A. Campbell (R) Barry Bower (R), Ricky Lawrence (R) (two seats)



Supervisor: Brad Carpenter (R)

Clerk: Amanda Brown (R)

Treasurer: Terri Geiger (R)

Trustee: Gary VandeCar (R) Cary Smith (R), Scott Bond (R) (two seats)


Castleton: Supervisor: Cheryl Hartwell (R)

Clerk: Marcia Scramlin (R)

Treasurer: Joy E. Mulder (R)

Trustee: Earl M. Wilson (R), H. Michael Trahan (R) (two seats)


Hastings Charter:

Supervisor: Jim Brown (R), James M. Partridge (R)

Clerk: Anita S. Mennell (R)

Treasurer:  Jenee S. Phillips (D)

Trustee: Timothy B. McNally (R), Scott Savage (D), William Wetzel (R) (four seats)



Supervisor: Douglas E. Peck (R), Joyce Snow (R)

Clerk: Deborah Jackson (R)

Treasurer: Arlene Tonkin (R) Jolene Payne (D)

Trustee: David Messelink (R), Matt Peake (R), Wendee J.Wendt (R) (two seats)



Supervisor: Jamie R. Knight (R), Tim Ross (R)

Clerk: Sharon Olson (R)

Treasurer: Alesse Cross (R)

Trustee: Michael Buehler (R), Dean Bass (R) Rhonda VanPolen (R) (two seats)



Supervisor: Barbara J. Earl (R), Roy Thunder (R)

Clerk: Sheri M. Babcock (R)

Treasurer: Karmen Kay Nickerson (R)

Trustee: Deana M. Powell (R), Jeffrey T. Warren, (R) (two seats) 


Maple Grove:

Supervisor: Jeff Butler (R)

Clerk: Holly Carpenter (R)

Treasurer: Ginger Cole (R)

Trustee: Larry Hook (R), Doug Westendorp (R) (two seats)



Supervisor: Thomas J. Rook (R)

Clerk: Mel Risner (R)

Treasurer: Michelle Ritchie (R)

Trustee: Linda Ribble (R), Chad Kraai, (R), Phillip Joseph (R), Jodi L. Patrick (R) Jake Bronson (R) (two seats)



Supervisor:  Jim Stoneburner (R), Mark A. Doster (R)

Clerk: Rod Goebel (R)

Treasurer: Judy Pence (R)

Trustee: Richard L.Van Niman (R), Ted DeVries (R) Mark D. Doster (R) (two seats)


Office of Parks: Judith A. Risdon (D), Scott Kuebler (R), Kevin Louden (R), Joanna Haneckow (D, John Kurak (D)


Rutland Charter:

Supervisor: Larry Watson (R)

Clerk: Robin Hawthorne (R)

Treasurer: Sandra Greenfield (R)

Trustee: Sandra L. James (R), Marlin Walters (R), Brenda Bellmore (R), Matt Spencer (R), Gene D. Hall, (R), Eric Miller (R) (four seats)



Supervisor: Dan Parker (R), Eric Schaefer (R)

Clerk: Cindy Willshire (R)

Treasurer: Debra K. Buckowing (R)

Trustee: Ross DeMaagd (R), Curt Campbell (R), Sandra L. Rairigh (R) (three seats)



Supervisor: Jeffrey S. MacKenzie (R)

Clerk: Nancy Stanton (R)

Treasurer: Shawn K. Durkee (R)

Trustee: Gabriel Steward, (NPA), Mikel Slater (R) (two seats)


Yankee Springs:

Supervisor: Mark W. Englerth (R), Rob Heethuis (R)

Clerk: Michael Scott Cunningham (R), Ron Heilman (R)

Treasurer: Debra L Mousseau (R)

Trustee: Shanon VandenBerg (R), Larry Knowles (R), Dave Van Houten (R) (two seats)




Barry Township asks for renewal of 2 mills ($2 per $1,000 of taxable value) for fire protection, 2020-2023, which would raise an estimated $260,000 the first year.

Barry Township also asks for renewal of 2 mills ($2 per $1,000 of taxable value) for police protection for 2020-2023 which would raise an estimated $260,000 the first year.


Carlton Township asks that 1.5 mills, reduced to 1.4925 mills by required rollbacks, be renewed and increased to the original voted 1.5 mills and levied for four years, 2020 through 2023, to provide fire protection in the township, raising an estimated $117,000 in the first year. A portion of the millage will be distributed to the Freeport Fire Association, Woodland Fire Association and the BIRCH Fire Department


Hope Township asks 1 mill for fire protection and cemetery maintenance (.75 mills for fire and .25 mills for cemetery), reduced to 0.944 mills by required rollbacks, be renewed and increased up to the original 1mill for four years, 2020 through 2023, raising an estimated $137,765 the first year.

Hope Township also asks that 1 mill, reduced to 0.994 mills by required rollbacks, be renewed and increased up to the original 1 mill for four years, 2020 through 2023, for road repair, maintenance and operating expenses, which would raise an estimated $137,765 the first year.


Irving Township asks for renewal of 1.4566 mills for six years, 2021through 2026, for fire protection, which is estimated to raise $199,039 in the first year.


Johnstown Township asks for renewal of 0.7882 mills for the acquisition, operation and maintenance of fire protection and equipment, including fire and rescue equipment for the years 2020-2023, both inclusive, which is estimated to raise revenue of $84,845 in the first year.


Maple Grove Township asks for renewal of 1 mill for four years, 2020-2023, for dust control and road maintenance which is estimated to raise $45,000 the first year.

Maple Grove Township also asks for the renewal of 1 mill for four years, 2020-2023, for fire department apparatus, maintaining, housing and operations, raising an estimated $45,000 the first year.


Orangeville Township asks for renewal of 0.75 mills for five years, 2022 through 2026, for fire department equipment which will raise an estimated $102,121.35 in the first year the renewal millage is levied. This millage becomes effective when the current millage expires in 2021.


Rutland Township asks for a 1 mill increase for five years, 2020 through 2024, to maintain and improve public roads in the township and raise an estimated $158,814.25 in the first year.


Thornapple Township asks for renewal of 1.7169 mills for four years, 2020 through 2023, for fire protection, emergency services and equipment, which will raise an estimated $578,000 the first year.


Delton Kellogg Schools asks for renewal of 18 mill levy on non-homestead property for five years, 2021-2025, to continue to receive its per pupil foundation revenue and an increase of 0.5 mills for the five years, for operating purposes, to restore millage lost as the result of the edlee Amndment. Headlee Amendment. If approved, the estimated the revenue the school district will collect is approximately $3,174,000 the first year.


Maple Valley Schools New School Start Date

Maple Valley Schools First Day of School in 2020-21 will be August 24th.  A Survey for which option of school parents and their students want to select for this year will be sent out August 3rd and must be returned by 5pm on August 10th.  Any Family who does not select an option will be assigned to the face to face option. Response to the online survey, mailed survey, or you may call the school offices to have an administrative assistant complete the survey at 517-852-9275.


The State of Michigan has provided guidance to Michigan Public Schools should students return to face to face learning in the 2020-21 school year.  visit the schools website at


Murder Suspect Back in Court


63 year old Jon Otis Burnett charged in a double homicide in Orangeville township in June 2019 is now back in  Barry County Circuit Court in a jury trial before Judge Michael Schipper. Burnett was in Court a year ago for a forensic diagnosis to determine if he was competent to stand trial.

Burnett is charged in the murder of 73 year old Gary Peake of Plainwell and 21 year old Bryce DeGood of Haslett.

Burnett also attacked his wife and tried to strangle her.

The shooting took place near Lindsey and Lewis roads  northwest of Delton.


Michigan State Police Trooper Dies


A Michigan State Police Trooper died friday after nearly a month in the hospital.

33 year old Caleb Starr was hit by a drunk driver while on duty, July 10th in Ionia County.

Michigan State Police made the announcement, saying  "With extreme sadness we announce the loss of Trooper Caleb Starr of the Lakeview Post.


Delton Kellogg Schools Return to School Roadmap

In a letter to D K parents, Superintendent Kyle Corlett thanked everyone who completed the district survey.  The Return To School Committee met July 29th and plan to release a detailed plan by the first week of August.


Our region is currently in Phase 4 and the district is planning to start the school year in this phase with two different options regardless of the survey results.


DK Virtual School will utliize a program such as Edgenuity or Edmentum to provide instruction. Students will still be enrolled as DKS students and able to participate in extra-curricular activites. Students would need to committ to at least one semester.  DK teachers will serve as mentors but will not be providing instruction.  At grade levels K-5 if a significant number of students enroll for DK Virtual, students will receive instruction from a DK teacher.


DK In-Person regarless of the model used for In-Person instruction, DKS will follow requirements listed in the Michigan Safe School Roadmap.


In-Person Options Return to School Survey asked parents if they would feel more comfortable sending students to school if we were not 100% in-person, but used one of the following hybrid models.


One hybrid model would be alternating days students attend school.  Meaning students would be split into two groups. One group would attend Monday and Wednesday, while one attends Tuesday and Thursday.  Students in the same family would attend the same days.  The days students aren't attending school in person, they would receive instruction virtually on the computer.


The other hybrid model would be only having elementary students attend in-person, while middle school and high school students do school virtually.  This allows elementary students to be spread out into different classrooms and have more staff to work with elementary students so they can work in smaller groups.


Next Steps:  DK Schools will share all details and answer questions once plans are finalized by the DK Return to School Committee.  Information will be shared on

Facebook page.   DKS is purchasing a face mask for every student and staff member as well as clear masks for all teachers.


Thornapple Kellogg Schools Return To School Roadmap


Thornapple Kellogg Schools have posted their  Return to School Plan on their website.  TK will offer two options for all students in the 2020-21 school year.


Traditional In-person learning with students and teachers in classrooms with the required safety protocols. Facial coverings must be worn by preK -12 students, staff and bus drivers during school transportation.Students are required to use hand sanitizer prior to boarding a bus. Any student or staff who is unable to medically to tolerate a facial covering must not wear one.Numerous cleaning protocols must be followed . TK will is required to cooperate with the county Health Dept.regarding protocols for screening students and staff as well as how to respond to positive tests from students and staff.These protocols will be in place prior to the start of school. Phase 5 of state re-opening guidelines will further reduce some requirements. If our area moves back to phase 3, the district will be required to close all buildings and we will move to our remote learning plan until we move back to phase 4.


TK Virtual School where students will have on line learning but still be a registered TK student.If your student is enrolling in TK Virtual School you must complete the enrollment survey by August 7th.  If you choose the TKVS your student will remain a TK student and may opt in for in-person instruction for the Second Semester.  Students are also eligible to participate in sports or other extracurricular activities as the district is able to offer.  Once a student is enrolled in the TKVS they must stay enrolled for the duration of the semester.




Dr. Katherine Bertolini Update for Maple Valley Schools


Superintendent of Maple Valley Schools Dr. Bertolini's, Letter on the District Website update on status of Return To School Roadmap as of July 31. 


We working toward our full release of plans for students’ return to school with us this fall. A series of decisions regarding start date, and types of curriculum offerings will be decided by our board this evening July 31st at a 6pm virtual meeting. I am releasing our proposal for academic options on our district website on Aug.1st.  I encourage folks to go to the website and review the proposals. Our board will be having another meeting on Monday the 3?rd? with the focus of hearing feedback from the community on our proposals. We will meet again on Friday the 7?th? of August at 7 pm to review changes if any need to be made and then we will finalize our proposals for our Return to Learn Plan at ourregular board meeting on August 10?th? at 7 pm.


Throughout this process, we have been working very diligently and our teachers have been awesome in that whilethey are technically on break, they have attended our weekly town hall update meetings and building town halls tokeep apprised of information as we are learning it. Our administrators have been beyond dedicated working long hours and collaborating together to keep working on the safest and best way to educate our students


.All of these efforts have been challenged by some significant factors. First, health and safety are clearly the center of the return to learn roadmap and we are examining every requirement of that plan to determine if we are able to meet all of those mandates. Additionally, as the virus spikes and drops we are keeping a close eye on if we will be back in phases 1-3 again which would mandate school closure. We are trying to create the most seamless transitions if we have to adapt from one learning format to another with minimal notice.


Given the tensions of health preventive measures and personal freedoms, there is a wide range of opinion and stress around the mandates we must follow if we are to reopen for face to face instruction. Schools across the state are struggling with this and many are determining they cannot open safely and will begin with virtual instruction. There are many reasons for this, and those reasons vary across different contexts. Additionally, we have to consider in what format are we most likely to achieve the best educational outcomes for our students? We all prefer face to face, and yet if the health restrictions remove so many of the benefits of face to face instruction we need to be mindful of that as well. This is a learning experiment unlike anything we have ever had to try before.We ask for grace and forgiveness as we try to do our best for our kids, knowing there will be mistakes made and lessons learned for us all. We are committed to getting better every day and we ask for your patience and support as we continually learn and improve. We have many assets in this work together. Incredibly dedicated administrators, steadfast and thoughtful board members, phenomenal teachers and a community which loves its school district. We are going to be ok . Let’s keep working together to ensure we come out of this together too.



Hastings Area School Return to School Roadmap


Hastings Area School System has posted on their website their plans for each phase in the covid 19 pandemic.  Hastings Schools will offer two plans for instruction for the 2020-21 School year. Traditional in person instruction with our teachers, while following the Micihgan safety guidelines in the Return to School Plan. Hastings Schools will also offer a virtual approach in their Hastings Virtual Academy, which is a different online approach from last spring. It is important to have accurate data for a smooth school start date August 24th.  If you are planning to enroll in the Hastings Virtual Academy and have not signed up already, you must sign up by August 14th.


  Superintendent Daniel Remenap, will hold virtual Zoom Town Hall meetings to address questions specific to Parents student grade level.  Tuesday, Aug 4 at 6:00pm  for Elementary Parents , Wednesday, August 5th at 6:00pm for Middle School Parents and Thursday, August 6th at 6pm for High School parents.  The Sessions will also be recorded and available by request by emailing


Of the many changes the school is experiencing, transportation will look different this year.  Students will have to have one pickup and drop off point.  When feasible and safe, Hastings will use traditional bus stops rather than picking up all students at their homes.  High School level, sporting events will be drop off only. Parents will have to arrange transportation home from sporting events.


Another important aspect of this school year will be at-home screening for your child throughout the school year.  The School is asking parents to please screen your daughter/son every morning before sending them to school.  Please take their temperature, ask questions about how they feel (headache, difficulty breathing etc.) and if they know if they have been exposed to anyone who has Covid 19 symptoms.(appropriate to their age).   Students and Staff members will not be allowed to remain in school if they have any illness symptoms.  There will be no truancy consequences or loss of credit, this year for students who stay home due to Covid 19 or its symptoms.

More information about the two different learning options are outlined on the



Thornapple Manor Responds to Housing Crises

Don Haney, Administrator of Thornapple Manor, announced that after an extensive study on the housing crises in the Barry County area and unanimous approval from both the Department of Health and Human Services Board for Barry County and the Barry County Board of Commissioners, they will be building a 50-unit assisted living home. This facility will be located off of M-79 on McKeown Road, just south of Thornapple Manor.


“Our board developed this plan to help eleviate some of the need for housing in Barry County. Our study shows that an essential need is for an additional 90 assisted living units. Our first phase will be building a 50 unit assisted living home offering studio, one bedroom, and one bedroom deluxe choices.” Haney quickly adds “We will be able to build in a fiscally solvent matter that does not require any additional tax burden to the residents of Barry County. The assisted living home will be self-sustaining.”


“We anticipate breaking ground sometime this fall. Our staff is really excited that we are addressing the needs of our seniors in our community with such a forward thinking project. It is truly a reflection of what our staff has addressed when we talk about what the future of Thornapple Manor should look like.” Haney continues “I know that the care and compassion we give to those we serve right now will continue as we embark on this next phase.”


"If you have any questions please feel free to contact me directly" Haney said.




Governor Whitmer amends MI Safe Start order to limit indoor gatherings

Wednesday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-160 and Executive Order 2020-161, amending Michigan’s Safe Start Order and issuing revised workplace safeguards. Under the Safe Start Order, starting Friday, July 31, 2020, statewide indoor gatherings will be limited to 10 people and bars will be closed for indoor service across the state if they earn more than 70% of their gross receipts from sales of alcoholic beverages.    


“After seeing a resurgence in cases connected to social gatherings across the state, we must further limit gatherings for the health of our community and economy. By taking these strong actions, we will be better positioned to get our children back into classrooms and avoid a potentially devastating second wave” Whitmer said.   


COVID-19’s resurgence is closely associated with super-spreading events at large social gatherings, often attended by young people. An outbreak at a Lansing bar has resulted in 187 infections; more than 50 cases have been linked to a single house party in Saline; and a sandbar party at Torch Lake over the July 4 weekend led to at least 43 confirmed cases. Therefore, Executive Order 2020-160 limits statewide indoor gatherings to 10 people or less and, across most of the state, limits outdoor gatherings to 100. (The outdoor gathering limits will remain at 250 in Regions 6 and 8.)  


To view Executive Order 2020-160 and Executive Order 2020-161, click the links below: 


County Board approves Thornapple Manor assisted living complex

Thornapple Manor will build a new 50 bed Assisted Living complex after the Barry County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the project Tuesday. 


Don Haney, Administrator of Thornapple Manor, presented the proposal that indicates housing in Barry County is a need across all income and age levels. The  need was clearly identified at an early 2018 housing summit, which led to an initial market study to determine the demand for senior housing. That market study indicates 60 assisted living units and 30 dementia care units are needed in the county. 


The 50 bed Assisted Living complex will be constructed on a 40-acre site south of the current Thornapple Manor campus on county-owned property at the corner of M-79 and McKeown Road. A long range plan to add 100 independent living units could also be accommodated on the site, if determined feasible in the future. Construction of the Assisted Living complex requires the County Board of Commissioners to pledge the full faith and credit of the County to secure the necessary funding.


A financial feasibility study was conducted to ensure that the complex will be financially self-sustaining without the need for taxpayer support. The financial statement pro-forma assumes a 30-year bond at 4% average bond yield with a total project cost of $10.5 million.



Other items at the Board of Commissioners meeting:


-The Board re-appointed Robert Vanderboegh and Clyde Morgan to serve on the Barry County Planning Comission for three (3) year terms that began on 5/1/20


-A Resolution in Support of 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act was adopted.


-Jennifer Heinzman, Director of the Barry County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Alliance updated commissioners on the Strategic Restructuring proposal for the Chamber and EDA. Heinzman said there are several areas where efforts are currently being duplicated by the Chamber and EDA. The Resturing Plan will streamline administrative efforts, create more targeted workgroups, and increase efficiency. 


Vote Aug. 4 to have your voice heard

Aug. 4 is the Primary Election in Michigan. One provision of new laws making it easier for citizens to vote is the availability of absentee balloting for any registered voter who asks for “no reason.”

Previously, absentee ballots were available only for specific reasons, like health or age.


Irving Township Clerk Sharon Olson sees “no reason” absentee voting as a good thing because it will likely increase voter turnout.


Voters are more likely to vote if they can make decisions at their convenience and put the ballot in the mailbox instead of driving to the polls to vote. Still, she said,” some like to come to the township hall and vote for the community feeling.”


Voters can bypass the mail by bringing their absentee ballot to their township halls. Olson and all the other township clerks will be in their offices before the elections with the hours and dates published in various media.


At Irving’s Township hall, 3425 Wing Road, Olson’s hours are Mondays and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to noon, or anytime during the Saturday before the election or up to the 8 p.m. close on Election Day. If the halls have a secure drop-off box, as Irving does, that can be used anytime.


Even before new safe guards, elections in Michigan were very secure with the state’s election laws, Olson said.


All of the election records are under lock and seal. There is public testing of the voting equipment and township clerks attend classes on current election requirements by Barry County Clerk Pam Palmer, she said.


The poll book, with the names of all qualified voters in the township, now has a bar code for computer reading. It is downloaded to an external hard drive to the Election Day computer and “can’t be hacked,” Olson said.


After certification by the local board of canvassers, the election results are sent the county clerk, and then each county’s results are certified by the state, she added.


“We are also subject to random audits to make sure we are following legal procedures to do with the elections, public testing of the equipment, securing election workers, documents, minutes of the election commission’s meetings, all to protect the security and integrity of the elections. It’s pretty intense,” Olson said.


With the expected surge of absentee ballots in future elections, a new panel of tabulators, the Absent Ballot Board, will record all absentee ballots, with its debut Aug. 4. The board members will be sequestered in a basement office for the day.


Olson will deliver absentee ballots to the tabulators who will not be allowed to leave until after the polls close and votes cast at the hall are tabulated.  Any qualified person who enters the room also may not leave until then. The precaution is to assure no contact with the public or any reporting of trends they may see while processing the ballots.


Irving Township has 2,729 registered voters and 565 absentee ballots for the primary election turned in as of July 27.


Two things helpful to voters: If someone is driven to the hall but can’t physically handle the normal voting process, Olson will send one person from both political parties to the person’s car in the parking lot with an application to vote, wait for it to be filled out, process it, bring the ballot to the voter’s car, wait for them to vote, then bring it to be tabulated.  “That’s not new. It’s always been that way,” she said.

 Also, when people make a mistake on their ballot, they can come in and have Olson spoil that ballot and issue a new one.


Olson is not overly concerned about voter fraud, “Especially in our county. I trust our voters and elections workers. We’re small and we have a tendency to know our voters,” she said.


Now, when a person renews their Michigan driver’s license they are automatically registered to vote unless they opt out. They can also register and vote up to and including Election Day.


For Barry County’s Aug. 4 primary election ballot, see related story here.


Police Impersonator

Monday afternoon Eaton County Sheriff's Office began getting numerous reports of a male subject going into businesses near Saginaw and Canal in Delta Twp and making odd statements.  The subject on a couple occasions represented himself as a police officer and even showed a badge.  Staff at these businesses did not believe him and contacted the Eaton County Sheriff's Office.  Around 4:30 p.m. a deputy spotted the suspect near Horrock's and the suspect ran.  The deputy quickly was able to catch the suspect and take him into custody.  The badge was recovered from the suspect and was not real.  The suspect was also wanted on charges from another local jurisdiction.  The suspect appeared to be under the influence of something and was taken to a local hospital to be checked out.  At this hospital during treatment, the suspect attempted to escape.  Deputies again quickly caught the suspect.  The suspect is currently lodged at the Eaton County Jail awaiting formal charges from the prosecutor.



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

City Manager Jerry Czarnecki gives WBCH news a report on Monday July 27th's Hastings City Council Meeting.



Golf Gabrielle Shipley



Gabrielle Shipley of Hastings finished in a two-way tie for 4th place at the Firekeepers Casino Symetra Tour golf champions over the weekend.

 Shipley finished at 9-under par at the the Battle Creek Country club picking up a check for over $8,000 dollars. Over 144  players participated in the tournament.

 Shipley has also play on the LPGA tour.


It's no fair, but you can still enjoy Fair Food

Under “normal” circumstances, this was supposed to have been the week of the Barry County Fair (July 20-25).  But as we all know, there is nothing normal about this summer.


Fair Food Junkies take heart!


This Friday July 24, and Saturday July 25, there will be a local food vendor event at the Barry Expo Center grounds from 11am to 7pm:


S&S Bailey’s Concessions,  Dodie’s Fresh Cut Fries,  Genovese Italian Ice,  and The Lucky Fork 



State House approves funding for two Barry County recreation projects

Rep. Julie Calley and the Michigan House this week approved funding for two Barry County recreation projects – helping extend the Paul Henry-Thornapple Trail and adding a shooting range to the Barry State Game Area.


The projects are included in recommendations from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund. The recommendations are made to the Legislature, which is working to finalize and authorize the plan.


“Barry County is beautiful, as anyone who has spent time on the Paul Henry-Thornapple Trail or at the state game area knows well,” said Calley, of Portland. “They will become even better attractions with these enhancements.”


The legislation authorizes $350,000 to acquire 26 acres to extend the Paul Henry-Thornapple Trail in Thornapple Township. The land includes 2.5 miles of abandoned rail bed, which will connect the north end of the trail in Barry County with the south end of Kent County’s system. Most of the property is natural wildlife habitat, including frontage along the Thornapple River.


At the Barry State Game Area, $200,000 would be allocated to build a new shooting range that incorporates sound abatement and other important elements. This new range will allow the Department of Natural Resources to close an existing, substandard location.


Statewide, the measure approved by the House provides $28.7 million for 60 recreational development projects and 18 land acquisition projects.


Money in the Natural Resources Trust Fund comes from the development of minerals on state land – not general tax money -- and is distributed on an annual basis in partnership with local governments. The money must be used for acquisition or recreational development projects, according to the Michigan Constitution.


The Natural Resources Trust Fund program dates back to the 1970s.


Senate Bill 145 returns to the Senate for further consideration.


One staffer tests positive at Thornapple Manor

Thornapple Manor was notified Thursday morning that one staff member has tested positive for COVID 19.  The staff member works in a non-resident area and has minimal contact with residents.

That staffer is off work, feels fine, and is not showing any symptoms at this time.  They will be re-tested and return only after two negative tests.


The entire area has been cleaned and sanitized.  Thornapple Manor’s infection control team is working with their Medical Director and the local health department to take every step possible to minimize any further exposure.


Thornapple Manor has, and will continue to test all staff weekly.  All residents are also tested weekly. 


Don Haney, Administrator of Thornapple Manor said "Please know that our team is doing all we can to minimize the risk to our residents and other staff members.  Our infection control team and leadership are working with our Medical Director and the local health department to ensure all possible measures are taken to limit risk and any further spread of the virus."


"If you have any questions please feel free to contact me directly" Haney said.





Hastings Alumni Banquet

The 133rd Hastings Alumni Banquet scheduled for August 28th is cancelled..

The Alumni Board regret not being able to honor the anniversary classes of 1945, 1950,, 1955, 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, and 1995.

Only once before was it necessary to cancel and that was during World War Two.


New Railings

The new railing replacement project in Hastings started Wednesday with work first being done on the east side of Jefferson street next to the Walldorff building. The east lane including parking is barricaded on jefferson until the work in complete.


When the east side is finished work will begin on the west side of the street.


Mass rally in support of Police

A mass rally in support of Police is set for August 14 in Lansing.  "Stand Up America for The Thin Blue Line" will be held from 12-pm to 4-pm on the front steps of the State Capitol Building. Police agencies, Sheriff Offices and Michigan residents from across the state will take part.


Event speakers include Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf, Dave Agema Retired State Representative and Retired U.S. Air Force Pilot, Brandlee Dean National Radio Host and Katherine Henry, Founder of Restore Freedom Initiative Constitutional Attorney.



City of Hastings Zoning Board of Appeals Hearing

Hastings City Manager Jerry Czarnecki gives WBCH news a report of the City of Hastings Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting from July 21st, 2020



Hastings High School Graduation Ceremony

Hastings High School will hold an In-Person Graduation Ceremony Drive-In Style, Thursday, July 23rd at 7:00p.m. .  Graduates families will watch from the parking lot and be able  to see their graduate come across the stage to receive their diploma.  This year, Parking lot passes were issued to each graduate to enter the parking lot..The Graduation Ceremony is closed to the general public. Friends and family may watch the ceremony on the Schoold Districts Facebook live stream


Barry County Jury Selection

On Monday 75 people were scheduled to be at the Barry Expo Center for jury selection as Barry County Courtrooms move forward toward resuming normal court proceedings.

Barry County took advantage of the Expo Center for jury selection, where there is more space to keep the pool of potential jurors distanced.

The courthouse is open to the public at the judge's discretion, and beginning trials.


Car Fire

Hastings Fire Department quickly extinguished a fire in the engine compartment of this classic Ford Mustang just before 5pm Friday in front of Richie's Koffee Shop in Downtown Hastings.


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