Local News

Barry Eaton Health Department recommends wearing face coverings in public

The CDC has issued new guidance for the general public to wear face coverings while in public. Wearing face coverings can protect others from being exposed to coronavirus from asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic individuals. A handout is now available:


As of Monday, April 6, 2020,  there are 7 positive COVID-19 cases in Barry County. One of those cases has recovered and has been released from isolation. There are currently 12 persons in Barry County under quarantine or being monitored. 


In Eaton County as of Monday, April 6, there are 57 positive cases with 24 recovered. 98 persons in Eaton County are under quarantine/monitoring and there have been 2 deaths from the virus.


Residents can assume there is a possibility the virus may be present when they are in public places in the community. We want to reinforce that people should be taking all recommended prevention measures, as testing continues to be limited.





Delton Kellogg Schools offer an extra meal this week

Delton Kellogg Schools invite their families to come out and enjoy an extra meal Wednesday, April 8th, from 4:00p.m. to 6:00p.m. at the Delton Kellogg High School Parking Lot.   Drive up, give your order for number of meals, pick up and enjoy at home.  Make sure you smile and wave to the teachers and principals across the driveway.


This meal offer is in addition to the scheduled Saturday deliveries at the different locations.


Thornapple Manor Covid-19 Update

Thornapple Manor has approved admitting a resident that has tested positive for COVID 19 and has been treated at Spectrum Health Pennock. The patient is no longer contagious.


Resident safety and care is top priority and Thornapple Manor is isolating the new resident and providing dedicated staff in that area.


Thornapple Manor has been planning and preparing for this eventuality since the first case in Michigan was confirmed. The Leadership, Infection Control, and Staff Education Teams, along with the Medical Director, have a comprehensive plan in place that exceeds the recommendations of the CDC, CMS as well as state guidance.


Thornapple Manor will continue to monitor all information and guidance, adjusting its' plan accordingly.  An area in the building has been designated which is uniquely suited for isolation and containment. It is anticipated that cases will continue to increase for the next few weeks straining the resources at our local hospitals. Thornapple Manor is the next line of care for many seniors following an acute illness.


Please follow the stay home restrictions and limit contact with others unless absolutely necessary. In addition the number one effective weapon is hand washing. Please wash your hands often and clean surfaces that are often touched. Should you begin experiencing symptoms please self-quarantine and consult your healthcare provider.

Should you have any questions please feel free to contact Thornapple Manor’s Administrator, Don Haney at (269) 945-2407.


Structure Fire

The Wayland/Yankee Springs Twp. Fire Dept. responded to a structure fire at 2569 Oakleigh Street in Yankee Springs Township at 2:47pm Saturday. 


It was first reported that there was black smoke coming from a summer mobile home that was unoccupied at the time.


Firefighters arrived to find heavy black coming from the structure.


Deputy Fire Chief Dan Miller said “There was a garage within 3ft. to the back of the burning structure and a mobile home within 2-1/2 the East.  Both exposures sustained no damage”.


“The firefighters did a great job knocking the fire down”.


Also responding to the scene for assistance were Orangeville Twp. Vol. Fire Dept., Consumers Energy and Wayland Area EMS 


There were no injuries and remains under investigation. 


Suspects apprehended in Al & Pete's breaking and entering

On Friday March 27th at approximately 4:00am, Al & Pete’s Sports Shop in downtown Hastings was broken into and several guns were stolen. Later that day the car that was used in the breaking and entering, a stolen 2011 Acura MDX, was recovered in Kentwood. The vehicle was returned to the dealership where it was taken, but was stolen again on Monday March 30, 2020.


The 2011 Acura was observed in Hastings during the early morning hours of April 1, 2020, and followed into the Grand Rapids area where a traffic stop was initiated by the Kent County Sheriff’s Department and ATF. After a short vehicle pursuit and a foot pursuit all 4 of the subjects in the car were apprehended.


Hastings Police Chief Jeff Pratt said three of the subjects who were arrested are suspects in the Al & Pete’s robbery and also suspects in several other similar incidents across the state. It was confirmed, by one of the suspects that the intent of being in Hastings on April 1st was to again break into Al & Pete’s, however, they were scared away by the police.


Reports will be filed with the Barry County Prosecutors office to have the 3 suspects charged in the breaking and entering of Al & Pete’s. Names, and ages, of the suspects are not being released at this time.


Assisting in the investigation was the ATF, Kentwood Police, Grand Rapids Police, SWET and the Kent County Sheriff’s Department.



New protocol for Barry County EMS providers.

Barry County Medical Control Authority (BCMCA) announces the introduction of a new “Telehealth and Stationary Treatment of Low Acuity Patients During COVID-19 Outbreak” protocol for Barry County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) providers.


The protocol will allow persons who call 9-1-1, with a specific list of low acuity medical concerns, to have a virtual face-to-face consultation with an Emergency Department (ED) physician and, when appropriate, be able to remain safely in their homes.


Dana Yarger, BCMCA Coordinator shares, “the goal of the protocol, which is a new model for EMS delivery and for the individuals they serve, is to keep people home and out of the ED”.


‘It allows us to enhance everyone’s safety – both the patient and the public,’ states Dr. Matthew Scarff, BCMCA physician medical director.


Barry County EMS crews will use an application on their electronic devices through which they can safely & securely share patient information and speak to an on-call ED doctor. Patients will also be able to see and speak with the physician to determine the best course of treatment.


Yarger adds, ‘we realize it will be a shift in what people who call 9-1-1 are used to. Our hope is that they see that when they are advised to stay home that it is the best thing for them and everyone else.


Dr. Scarff adds, ‘this type of protocol is important as we evolve and adapt to not only the COVID-19 pandemic but also the ever-changing world of emergency medicine and prehospital care. This kind of innovation will allow us to continue to provide the best care to the people of Barry County now and into the future.’


Hastings Chief Pratt comments on Stay At Home Order

So how are residents and businesses in the Hastings area doing with the Stay At Home order?  Hastings Police Chief Jeff Pratt talked to WBCH about that Friday morning:




Face-to-Face learning at K-12 schools suspended for remainder of school year

Governor Gretchen Whitmer today signed an executive order that closes all K-12 school buildings in the state for the remainder of the school year — unless restrictions are lifted — and ensures continuing of learning by setting guidelines for remote learning. District facilities may be used by public school employees and contractors for the purposes of facilitating learning at a distance while also practicing social distancing.


“My number one priority right now is protecting Michigan families from the spread of COVID-19. For the sake of our students, their families, and the more than 100,000 teachers and staff in our state, I have made the difficult decision to close our school facilities for the remainder of the school year,” Whitmer said.  “As a parent, I understand the challenge closing schools creates for parents and guardians across the state, which is why we are setting guidelines for schools to continue remote learning and ensuring parents have resources to continue their children’s education from the safety of their homes. There is no video chat or homework packet that can replace the value of a highly trained, experienced teacher working with students in a classroom, but we must continue to provide equitable educational opportunities for students during this public health crisis.”


The Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators and the Michigan Council of Charter School Authorizers are currently developing a Continuity of Learning Plan template application for schools to utilize in order to create their localized plan. The application will be made available by April 3. District plans will need to detail how districts will provide opportunities for students to learn remotely and how schools will manage and monitor their progress.


Every district’s plan will be different and will reflect what’s best and feasible for their community. A plan can include learning by any number of modes of instruction delivery, including a hybrid approach. However they are designed, districts must ensure their plans are appropriate, equitable and accessible for students and families.


If the plan relies on some online instruction, the district should ensure every student who needs it has access to an appropriate device with an ability to connect to the internet. Students and families will not be penalized if they are unable to participate in their alternate learning plan.


Schools should continue to provide mental health care services for students, to the extent possible, and should be ready and willing to help efforts to establish disaster relief childcare centers. School districts will also continue to provide meals for families who need them during the COVID-19 crisis.


If any schools have unused personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies or other materials, they are allowed and encouraged to donate them to organizations that could put them to use.


Teachers and school employees will be paid for the remainder of the school year. Student teachers will still be able to get a temporary certification and current teachers will still be able to get their certifications renewed, even if they can’t meet all the requirements due to COVID-19.


All Michigan high school seniors will be given the opportunity to graduate this year so that they may make a successful postsecondary transition. Additionally, all standardized tests previously scheduled for the remainder of the school year, including the M-STEP and the SAT, will be canceled. There will be a date in October for rising high school seniors to take the SAT and for other high school students to take the PSAT


First COVID-19 Death in Eaton County

Eaton County has experienced the first death due to coronavirus. The individual was a 71-year-old man who died on Tuesday, 3/31/20, and was diagnosed with COVID-19 after death.


“We regret to inform the county of this loss, and extend our deepest condolences to the grieving family and friends,” said Health Officer Colette Scrimger.  “This is a sobering reminder of the importance of staying vigilant in our disease prevention actions.  Not everyone who has the coronavirus will be sick, so physically distance yourself from others as if everyone has it.  Take care to travel outside the home only when absolutely necessary, and diligently wash your hands.”


Barry-Eaton District Health Department is grateful to everyone in the community who continues to follow social distancing, quarantine, and isolation guidelines to protect the health of the community.


To date, there have been 36 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Eaton County, and 4 in Barry County. 

For more information, visit,, and


Governor Whitmer expands Emergency Declaration, Declares State of Disaster

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-33 Wednesday which recognizes the expanded scope of economic, educational, and civic dislocation caused by the COVID-19, and equips the administration to address fully the devastation caused by virus. The order also formally declares a state of disaster.


“Today’s action will allow my administration to respond more effectively to every facet of this crisis. During this time, it’s crucial that Michiganders continue to stay home and keep their distance from others. We will get through this together.”


While the governor has multiple independent powers to address the challenges Michigan now faces, the powers invoked by Executive Order 2020-33 provide important protections and should remain a part the state’s ongoing efforts to combat this pandemic. The individual emergency orders, including 'Stay Home, Stay Safe' expire at the time stated in each order, unless otherwise continued.


The governor has taken a number of aggressive measures to protect Michigan families from the spread of the virus, including ordering businesses that are not critical to sustain or protect life to temporarily suspend in-person operations, and directing all Michiganders to stay in their homes, with limited exceptions.


Covid-19 Barry and Eaton Counties

Update 04/02/20:  Barry County has four positive cases, Eaton County has 36 confirmed positive cases and one death.




The Barry-Eaton District Health Department reports two positive cases of covid-19 in Barry County as of April 1, 2020 and twenty-seven positive cases in Eaton County. Sixty-six persons are under monitoring or quarantine in the Barry-Eaton district. 


BEHD says residents can assume there is a possibility the virus may be present when they are in public places in the community, and all recommended prevention measures should be taken.



April Fool's Day Postponed

Due to Covid-19 restrictions,  April Fools Day has been postponed and might be re-scheduled at a later date.


Anonymous donors "Gift" Barry County first responders, front line staff

Now more than ever we are seeing those in Barry County stepping forward to take care of others.  While we abide by the social distancing regulations and the “Stay Home. Stay Safe.” order set forth by our Governor, we are finding the light coming through the darkness.


That light is shown through anonymous donors who graciously have gifted dollars back in to our community.  Through collaborative efforts, the Barry County United Way has worked with these donors to purchase gift cards to local restaurants which in turn have been given as a “thank you” to our Barry County first responders, front line staff at local organizations, essential workforce employees and others who are fighting the COVID-19 pandemic for our community.


Lani Forbes, Executive Director of the Barry County United Way, “Our community is extremely generous and we are thankful for those who are choosing to support not only our local front-line workers, but also our local small business economy.  The dollars spent on gift cards are going directly back in to restaurants across Barry County to ensure that they can survive this difficult time as well.”


Justin Straube, Owner of Seasonal Grille in Hastings and Culinary Arts Instructor said, “It amazes me on how much a community comes together in time of crisis.  The outpouring of support and generosity blows me away.  This is why I am proud to be a part of our community!”

There will never be enough words or expressions of gratitude that can truly show our thankful we all are for those facing the COVID-19 pandemic, but this is a small way that we can stand together as Barry County residents and support each other during this time.  Please remember to support our local businesses that are continuing to operate in an unconventional manner and remember that with your help, we will all get through this together.


In addition to our local anonymous donors, multiple Barry County church organizations have chosen to support our local restaurants as well by purchasing gift cards and handing them out at the Hastings Fresh Food Initiative program.



Together, the Barry Community Foundation and Barry County United Way established an Emergency Disaster Fund to assist with emergency needs like COVID-19.  If you would like to contribute to this fund, please visit or


If you are in need of emergency services for food, rent, utilities, etc. call 2-1-1 or the Barry County United Way at 269-945-4010.



With millions of Michiganders being asked to stay inside as much as possible and to avoid being within 6-feet of those who do not live in your home, finding activities to do that fit within those guideline is tough.


However, the Department of Natural Resources says fishing is allowed under the current "Stay Home, Stay Safe" Rules.  Remember to stay 6-feet apart, and enjoy your catch.


Lake Odessa Police Department


The lake Odessa Police Departmenmt Sunday announced via Facebook  they would be offering the services of firetrucks and police cars for children in the Lake Odessa area whose birthday falls during  "Stay Home, Stay Safe" and are invited free to direct message DM the station's facebook page with an address and date of the childs birthday.  On that special day, the station will send a firetruck and or a police car to the residence and activate their emergency lights to wish your child  a Happy Birthday.


Hastings Chief Pratt on some of the questions about Stay At Home Order

City of Hastings Police Chief Jeff Pratt says there is still a lot of confusion over the Stay At Home Order from Governor Whitmer and gives this update:




Breaking and Entering at Al & Pete's Sports Shop



The Hastings Police Department is currently investigating a breaking and entering at Al & Pete’s Sports Shop which occurred around 4am this morning. There were several firearms stolen in this “smash and grab robbery”. The suspect vehicle and suspects were caught on security camera.


Anybody with information is encouraged to contact the Hastings Police Department at 269-945-5744 or Barry County Silent Observer at 800-310-9031.

















Fraud and Scam Alert

With information being released about stimulus checks being received from the Federal Government, the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind everyone about the possibility for frauds and scams to occur.


People behind these scams will attempt to call residents and convince them information such as their Social Security number is required to receive the check. Another scam may be for direct assistance in depositing the check and they will ask for some form of “pre-payment” by having residents purchase pre-paid gift cards.


Scammers typically increase their efforts during times of crises or emergency. Please remember that any unsolicited contact either by phone, or email is to be viewed as suspicious. If you are unsure if the contact is legitimate, consult with family or by calling the Sheriff’s Office or your local police agency.


First positive COVID-19 cases confirmed in Ionia County

Testing has identified Ionia County’s first two positive cases for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).


The first positive case, identified Wednesday, March 25, is a senior woman. That patient is currently hospitalized.  The second person tested positive on Thursday is a senior male who is also currently hospitalized.


Ionia County Health Department is contacting people who have been in close contact with either of those patients. They will be assessed for symptoms and monitored appropriately.


We ask that you please refrain from contacting the Health Department with requests for
additional information. Personal information on patients is protected by Federal Law.


As a precaution, the Ionia County Health Department is asking anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 to
self-isolate for 14 days to avoid potentially exposing others.


Barry County Drivers Receive an "A"


Michigan drivers get an A for doing their part to try to flatten the curve in travel.

In West Michigan Barry and Kent Counties each received an A grade for cutting travel by more than 45 percent.

Kalamazoo and Ingham Counties received an A grade for cutting travel by more ghan 50 percent.

Nationwide by 39 percent.


Spectrum Health Pennock Adds Tent for Future Triage Site

Spectrum Health Pennock is taking additional preparation steps to care for the community and keep patients and team members safe.

Starting March 24, 2020, you will notice a new screening tent outside of Spectrum Health Pennock’s Medical Arts Building. This is part of Pennock Hospital’s emergency preparedness plan, to allow for a designated place to screen patients who suspect they may have COVID-19. The tent is currently not in use. “The screening tent is designed as an extension of Pennock’s emergency department and it will only be utilized if patient volumes become too great for the existing emergency staff to handle within Pennock Hospital,” stated Steve Marzolf, Chief Nursing Officer, Spectrum Health Pennock.


Due to the limited number of tests available across the nation, patients exhibiting symptoms will be screened and either referred to the emergency department or sent home with instructions to care for their symptoms, as well as instructions to self-quarantine. Tests will only be administered to emergency department and in-patients meeting the criteria for testing and who exhibit severe respiratory conditions.


In accordance with the CDC, Spectrum Health recommends those with mild COVID-19 symptoms stay home and self-quarantine.


If you are unsure what to do, please call the COVID-19 screening hotline at 616.391.2380.
For more information about COVID-19, including information on symptoms and prevention, visit


Rep. Calley to host coronavirus update during tele-town hall


State Rep. Julie Calley will host a live tele-town hall update on Thursday, March 26 at 3 p.m. on the coronavirus pandemic in Michigan and what steps are being taken to combat the virus. Joining her on the call will be Anne Klein Barna, the Planning, Promotion, and Evaluations Manager of the Barry-Eaton District Health Department, and Ken Bowen, the Health Officer/Director of Environmental Health of the Ionia County Health Department.


“My duty is to keep you informed, and the challenge we’re facing doesn’t change that,” Calley said. “I appreciate our local health departments partnering with me on this tele-town hall to get reliable information out to the public. I encourage everyone to join the call and ask questions you may have regarding coronavirus.”


Those wishing to join the tele-town hall may call toll-free at (855) 756-7520 and enter ext. 57629# when prompted.


For more information, please contact Rep. Calley’s office at (517) 373-0842 or


The Soo Locks open as 2020 shipping season begins

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, announced the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan opened March 25, marking the beginning of the 2020 Great Lakes shipping season.


The up-bound Motor Vessel H. Lee White, 704-foot long freighter, was the first ship to enter the Poe Lock on it's way from Sturgeon Bay, Michigan to Superior, Wisconsin to load cargo.


The Corps of Engineers is taking precautionary measures to protect its workforce, while also remaining fully operational, leveraging physical distancing, flexible work schedules, telework, technology and virtual meetings to keep projects moving forward.


The locks were officially closed on January 15 and underwent critical repairs and maintenance during the 10 week long winter shutdown.


The Detroit District operates and maintains the Soo Locks along with 81 harbors and connecting channels on lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, St. Clair and the portion of Lake Erie that borders the state of Michigan. Located on the St. Marys River, Michigan, the locks have been a part of the Corps' navigation mission since 1881.


FAQs: How 'Stay at Home' order will be Enforced by MSP

Michigan State Police released the following questions and answers guide regarding the COVID-19 ‘Stay At Home’ Executive Order issued by Governor Gretchen Whitmer:


  1. How will the “Stay Home” Executive Order be enforced?


The order directs Michiganders to stay in their homes unless they’ve been designated as a critical infrastructure employee by their employer, engaged in an outdoor activity while maintaining social distancing, or performing tasks necessary to the health and safety of themselves or their family, like going to the hospital or grocery store.  Executive Order 2020-21 is not a recommendation, it is an order necessary for the health and safety of all Michiganders.


Executive Order 2020-21 was effective on March 24, 2020 at 12:01 am and continues through April 13, 2020 at 11:59 pm.  Under this order, individuals may only leave their home or place of residence under very limited circumstances, and they must adhere to social distancing measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when they do so, including remaining at least six feet from another person when outside the individual’s residence  to the extent feasible under the circumstances.


The goal of this order is simple: stay home, stay safe, and save lives.


  1. Will the MSP be stopping people for being out on the streets and issuing tickets or approaching businesses that appear to still be open?


Executive Order 2020-21 authorizes critical infrastructure workers and persons engaged in an outdoor activity or performing tasks necessary to the health and safety of themselves or their family, to leave their homes for these limited purposes.  For this reason, there are no plans to randomly stop people or to conduct a coordinate campaign to inspect businesses to ensure compliance with this order.  With that said, Executive Orders do carry the weight of law and the MSP stands ready to enforce any aspect of these orders, if needed.  However, given the serious nature of COVID-19, we are confident that Michiganders will take notice and voluntarily comply, as it is in the best interest of the entire state that we all work together to stay home as much as possible.


  1. Is the National Guard enforcing this order?


No. The National Guard is being used for humanitarian missions across the country.  In Michigan, the Michigan National Guard is assisting with ensuring the medical supply chain.


  1. Are the freeways closing?  Will there be checkpoints?


No. Critical infrastructure workers need to be able to fulfill their duties, and Michiganders need to be able to perform tasks necessary to the health of themselves or their family, such as going to the hospital, pharmacy or grocery store.  Law enforcement is hopeful Michiganders will recognize the seriousness of this situation and voluntarily comply with this order. 


  1. Will you be stopping everyone you see?


No. Law enforcement will be visible and prepared to take action if violations are warranted, but  we are optimistic that individuals and businesses will recognize the serious nature of this order and will comply by staying home.


  1. What happens to those caught violating the order?


Executive orders carry the weight of law and violators can face up to a 90-day misdemeanor or up to a $500 fine.  Businesses in regulated industries can also face licensing and other restrictions.


  1. Who’s considered essential and allowed to travel to work?


Executive Order 2020-21 prohibits in-person work that is not necessary to sustain or protect life.  Specifically, it says “No person or entity shall operate a business or conduct operations that require workers to leave their homes or places of residence except to the extent that those workers are necessary to sustain or protect life or to conduct minimum basic operations.”  For purposes of this order, workers who are necessary to sustain or protect life are defined as “critical infrastructure workers.”  The EO details that these workers may include:


Health care and public health

Law enforcement, public safety, and first responders

Food and agriculture.


Water and wastewater

Transportation and logistics

Public works

Communications and information technology, including news media

Other community-based government operations and essential functions

Critical manufacturing

Hazardous materials

Financial services

Chemical supply chains and safety

Defense industrial base

Child-Care workers


Anyone with questions should consult the guidance and direction in Executive Order 2020-21.


  1. Is the media essential?


The Executive Order does identify the news media as part of Communications and Information Technology, which means that a journalist could be considered a critical infrastructure worker for purposes of this order.


  1. When do you call 911 versus the COVID-19 hotline?


911 should be reserved for requesting emergency services only. Persons with questions about COVID-19 should review the resources available at  Residents can also call the MDDHS COVID-19 hotline, seven days a week, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., at 888-535-6136.


Per CDC guidance, persons who believe they are exhibiting symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19, should contact their medical provider first to have their symptoms screened. At this time, not everyone’s symptoms or medical history qualifies them for testing. Do not show up to a medical facility without first contacting a medical provider.


  1. What about the homeland security letter that is floating around authorizing federal employees to travel for work?


Per the Executive Order, federal law enforcement employees are considered critical infrastructure workers.


     11. Where can I find more information and clarification about this order?


The Executive Office is working as quickly as possible to clarify specific areas of the order, based on questions they are receiving from industry and the public.  A list of FAQs that can be found here is being continually updated. 



Hastings High School 2020 Academic Top Honors Students

Hastings High School 2020 Academic Top Honors Students have been recognized for outstanding academic achievement throughout their high school careers.  Congratulations to Dane Barnes, Shannon Brown, Audrey Byykkonen, Hannah Johnson, Eleanor McFarlan, Katie Pattok and Anna Scheck.







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