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Local News

Groundbreaking for $14 million dollar housing project is this Friday, May 21

In 1958 it was clear that the people in Barry County needed a medical care facility that would address the needs of the frail, elderly, and medically challenged. Now 63 years later, Thornapple Manor is once again, as it has done repeatedly in the past, responding to a need in our area.

 

With the severe housing shortage in our community, the Barry County’s Department of Health and Human Services board worked with a strong team from Thornapple Manor, CM Contracting, and representatives from Eckert Wordell, to create a facility that will be called Harvest Pointe, in honor of the countryside where the 50-unit assisted living project will be built.

 

Thornapple Manor, the 161-bed county owned skilled nursing facility located three miles east of Hastings, is hosting groundbreaking ceremonies for Harvest Pointe at 2:00 p.m. this Friday, May 21, 2021. Address will be 2950 McKeown Rd.  The public is welcome to attend the groundbreaking.

 

Administrator Don Haney stated about this week’s ceremony “Thornapple Manor is excited to be looking forward to the future with a new addition in our continuum-of-care services. We are adding Harvest Pointe; a 50 bed assisted living facility designed to provide another state-of-the-art option for Barry County Seniors needing support to maintain their independence.”

 

“Thornapple Manor will be 100% responsible for all debt payments, including the start-up phase” reminded Haney, and he continued “We appreciate the support we have received from our commissioners and community.”

 

Harvest Pointe will offer one bedroom, one bedroom deluxe suites and studio units. With dining services, spa, on-site laundry services, walking paths, transportation availability, hair/barber salon, activities, housekeeping, mail services, on-call nursing, and more, Harvest Pointe will fit the needs of many.

 

For further information, the contact number is (269) 945-1326.

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Rep. Calley to host local office hours May 24

State Rep. Julie Calley will hold office hours in Middleville and Hastings on Monday, May 24.

 

“Listening to people in our community and understanding your priorities helps me better represent our area when I got to Lansing,” Calley said. “I look forward to hearing your input and assisting with any questions you might have.”

 

The informal meetings will take place:

 

From 10 to 11 a.m. at the Middleville Village Hall, 100 E. Main St. in Middleville.

From 1 to 2 p.m. at the Hastings City Hall, 201 E. State St. in Hastings.

 

No appointment is necessary to attend.

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Free Marijuana Lock Boxes -- Lock it Up!

The Barry County Substance Abuse Task Force (SATF) will host its first lock box giveaway event this Saturday, May 22, 2021, 10 am – 1 pm, in the Barry County Community Mental Health parking lot located at 500 Barfield Drive, Hastings, Michigan.

 

The SATF will give away free LockMed boxes which can be used to secure marijuana and cannabis products, as well as prescription medications. The lock boxes are part of the SATF’s campaign to bring awareness to the need to “Lock It Up” to keep children and others safe by restricting and limiting access to marijuana.

 

Any and all Barry County residents can receive a lock box. This event will be a “drive through” event and those interested in receiving a box will simply drive up and be handed a lock box with no questions asked. Boxes will be limited to one per household and will be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis.

 

“Marijuana is legal for medical and adult recreational use in Michigan, but it’s not safe for everybody, especially children”, stated Liz Lenz, SATF Coordinator. “These boxes will help keep marijuana secure and out of the reach of others”. The lock boxes provide a safe and easy way to prevent access to marijuana products by children and youth, which could result in accidental ingestions and poisonings. Lenz added, “Parents and caregivers of children can do the next right thing to keep everyone safe—and keep marijuana out of reach”.

 

The SATF applied for and received the State of Michigan’s Medical Marijuana Oversight Grant through Licensing and Regulation Affairs (LARA) for 2021; funds from this grant were used to purchase the lock boxes as well as to promote overall safety and harm-reduction messages regarding marijuana. Media campaigns and activities will focus on the importance of keeping marijuana products secure and safe, as well as on preventing youth access to and use of marijuana, stressing the importance of not driving after using marijuana, and avoiding marijuana use during pregnancy.

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Fatal Ionia County Vehicle Crash

 

A 31 year old  man from Woodland died Sunday after his  vehicle flipped multiple times according to Ionia county deputies. The Ionia County Sheriff's Office said the man was driving east on David Highway at a high rate of speed when he crashed Sunday morning around 12:30 am.

 

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Flags lowered Saturday for Peace Officer Memorial Day 

Governor Whitmer, in accordance with a proclamation issued by President Biden, has ordered U.S. and Michigan flags within the State Capitol Complex and upon all public buildings and grounds across the state of Michigan to be lowered to half-staff on Saturday, May 15 in recognition of Peace Officer Memorial Day during Police Week.  

 

The day was established by Congress in 1962 to recognize law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty.

 

The State of Michigan honors Peace Officer Memorial Day by lowering flags to half-staff. Michigan residents, businesses, schools, local governments and other organizations also are encouraged to display the flag at half-staff.  

 

Flags should be returned to full-staff on Sunday, May 16.  

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Gov. Whitmer Lifts Mask Requirement for Fully Vaccinated Michiganders

Reprinted from Michigan.gov Press Office

 

LANSING, Mich. – Governor Gretchen Whitmer today announced the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is updating the Gatherings and Mask Order to align with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest guidance on face coverings. The new order will effect on Saturday, May 15 at 9AM.

 

“For more than a year, we’ve been following the best data and science to slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “The vast majority of us have trusted the scientists and experts to keep us safe during the pandemic, and it has worked. With millions of Michiganders fully vaccinated, we can now safely and confidently take the next step to get back to normal. The message is clear: vaccines work to protect you and your loved ones. If you have not yet received your vaccine, now is the time to sign up. This pandemic has been one of the toughest challenges of our lifetimes, but we came together as a state to persevere. We have all been working incredibly hard toward getting back to some sense of normalcy, and today’s news makes all of that work worthwhile.” 

 

On Thursday, the CDC released updated guidance recommending “fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.” 

 

“It’s critical that eligible Michigan residents who have not yet been vaccinated schedule their appointments as soon as they can,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and MDHHS chief deputy director for health. “Getting shots in arms is the best way to end the pandemic. If you have not yet been vaccinated, it is important to continue to mask up to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.” 

 

“The safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine and all the hard work that Michiganders have done allows us to take a big step in returning to normal,” said MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel. “This updated order keeps Michigan in alignment with CDC guidance that is based on the knowledge of health experts. I urge our residents to continue to be respectful of each other as we move forward.” 

 

Under the updated MDHHS Gatherings and Mask Order, Michiganders who are outdoors will no longer need to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status. While indoors, fully vaccinated Michiganders will no longer need to wear a mask, but residents who are not vaccinated, or have not completed their vaccinations, must continue to wear a mask or face covering to protect themselves and others.

 

After July 1, the broad indoor mask mandate will expire.  

 

Today’s news was welcomed with bipartisan support: 

“The new guidance from the CDC and the state’s loosening of the mask mandate in a safe way is very welcome to our communities – we are excited to get back to normal,” Mayor Don Gerrie (R – Sault Ste Marie) said. “We appreciate the partnership efforts throughout our state and in our local communities in following the covid-safe guidelines and making sure vaccinations are readily accessible to residents in a fast and efficient manner. I am thankful every day for the amazing health care and public safety professionals we have in Michigan.” 

 

To date, Michigan has administered 7,875,785 vaccines. According to CDC data, 55.6% of Michiganders ages 16 and older have received at least one dose, with more than 43% percent of Michiganders ages 16 and older being fully vaccinated. The state has also administered the vaccine to 927 Michiganders between the ages of 12 to 15 years old.  

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New Addition Coming To Barry County's Thornapple Manor

 

A groundbreaking event at Thornapple Manor is set for Friday May 21st at 2:00-pm for the celebration and the start of construction for their new 50 unit Assisted Living Facility.

The new unit will be located on the Manor Campus at 2950 McKeown road east of Hastings.

After a long term study to determine if their was such a need, Thornapple Manor was given the green light to move ahead with the project.

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Fatal Accident in Eaton County

On Tuesday, Eaton County Sheriffs deputies were dispatched to Ionia Rd north of Nashville Hwy in Vermontville Twp on the report of a serious injury crash. Upon arrival, deputies located the driver of a Saturn car who was pinned in and gravely injured. Eaton Area EMS arrived and pronounced him dead shortly later. The deceased was ID'ed as 41 year old Brandon Harmon of Vermontville. Preliminary Investigation revealed Harmon was northbound when for an unknown reason he crossed the center line and struck a southbound Floater tractor. The tractor driver was uninjured and cooperative with investigators. Alcohol and seat belts do not appear to be factors in the crash.

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Algonquin Lake Treatment

Algonquin Lake west of Hastings is scheduled to be treated for aquatic weeds and algae this mid May, depending on weather and weed growth. Shorelines will be posted. Lake residents are being asked to observe any water restrictions.

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Gary Holman Former Barry County Judge Died

78 year old Gary Holman of Hastings who served as a Barry County District Judge from 1979 to 2011 died on May 4th.

Before becoming a District Judge Holman served as Barry County's first full time prosecutor in 1976.

Due to Covid the family will be holding a private celebration of Gary's life and a Golf outing in his memory.

 

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M-66 Road Work starts Monday

Motorists traveling on M-66 east of Woodland may experience traffic delays starting Monday.  The Michigan Dept. of Transportation says daily (6 a.m. to 8 p.m.) lane closures for road work will be in effect May 10th through June 4th on M-66 from Coats Grove Road to M-50 (Brown Road).

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One person ejected in two vehicle crash in Ionia

On Thursday at 4:31 PM, Deputies with the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office and Officer’s from the Ionia Department of Public Safety were dispatched to E Main St and Fourth Ave for a two car personal injury accident. Witnesses on scene reported a person had been ejected from one of the vehicles.  Upon investigating the crash it was determined a passenger car had crossed the centerline and collided with a commercial vehicle.  The driver of the passenger car, a 25 year old female from Ionia, was ejected from the car after the vehicle overturned.  She was transported to Grand Rapids with serious injuries.  The driver of the commercial vehicle was not injured in the crash. 

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Former Barry County teacher accused of trying to have his wife killed

Nelson Replogle, a former Thornapple Kellogg school teacher, is accused of trying to hire someone to kill his wife using Bitcoin.

 

According to court documents, Replogle was arrested late last month in Knox County, Tennessee after FBI agents received a tip from the British Broadcasting Company about someone providing $17,800 in Bitcoin on-line to hire someone to kill his wife. Court documents, according to Fox 17 news, state that the Bitcoin used to make the payment for the murder-for hire website was traced back to a Coinbase wallet.

 

Replogle was a former social studies teacher and a senior class advisor for TK Middleville in 2018.

His wife is a former teacher at Hastings Northeastern School.

 

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MDHHS Updates Epidemic Order, relaxes Mask Requirements for Outdoor Gatherings

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services relaxed its COVID-19 Gatherings and Face Masks epidemic order to encourage safer outdoor activities as spring and summer bring warmer weather and new opportunities to go outdoors. 

 

Under the new order, which goes into effect Thursday, May 6, and continues through Monday, May 31, masks are generally not required outdoors unless a gathering has 100 or more people. In addition, anyone who is fully vaccinated and not experiencing symptoms is not required to wear a mask at residential gatherings, including indoors.

 

New guidance for organized sports no longer requires routine COVID-19 testing for fully vaccinated participants if they are asymptomatic. Masks continue to be required for contact sports but are no longer required outdoors during active practice and competition for non-contact sports. For example, softball and baseball players will be required to wear a mask in the dugout but not when at bat or playing first base.  

 

MDHHS continues to urge Michiganders to follow CDC guidance, even where not specifically required by an epidemic order. For people who aren’t yet fully vaccinated, that means masking up whenever around other people not from your household.  

 

Updates to the Gatherings and Masks Order encourage outdoor events with larger capacities permitted for entertainment and recreational facilities and for sports stadiums and arenas that hold events outdoors. This includes: 

 

Large outdoor events, including festivals, fairs, and golf tournaments?will be able to exceed the current 1,000-person limit so long as they create and post a safety plan consistent with the MDHHS Large Outdoor Event Guidance, and no more than 20 persons per 1,000 square feet are gathered in any space available to patrons.  

 

Outdoor stadiums and arenas: 

Stadiums complying with enhanced protocols will continue to be allowed to operate at 20% of their fixed seating capacity. For example, a stadium with a maximum capacity complying with enhanced protocols would be permitted to host 8,000 patrons.

 

Otherwise, for stadiums or arenas with a fixed seating capacity of 5,000 or greater without enhanced protocols 1,000 patrons may be gathered (previously 750). 

 

For stadiums or arenas with a fixed seating capacity of 10,000 or greater without enhanced protocols 1,500 patrons may be gathered. 

 

Residential outdoor gatherings?are allowed up to 50 people. Or, where density does not exceed 20 persons per 1,000 square feet of usable outdoor space, up to 300 people may be gathered.    

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

City Manager Jerry Czarnecki gives WBCH a summary of the Monday May 3rd Hastings Planning Commission meeting.

 

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School covid funds

The federal goverment handed out a fist full of Covid Extra Relief dollars to schools throughout Michigan including the following area schools.

Maple Valley $4,507.00 per student

Delton Kellogg $2,526.00 per student.

Lakewood $2,289.00 per student.

Hastings $1,860.00 per student

TK Middleville $970.00 perstudent. 

The Flint area school district will receive $51,192.00  per student.

 

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COVID-19 Testing Update – Free Rapid Testing at BEDHD

The Barry-Eaton District Health Department (BEDHD) has a special opportunity for residents in Barry County to be tested for COVID-19. On Monday, May 3rd, BEDHD and Honu/LTS will be at the BEDHD Barry County Office, located at 330 W. Woodlawn Ave. Hastings, MI 49058.

 

Free drive-thru testing will be done on a first come, first served basis between the hours of 2:00pm and 7:30pm. A second testing event will occur on Saturday, May 8th between the hours of 10:00am and 4:00pm at the BEDHD Barry County Office.

 

Testing is available to Michigan residents (with or without symptoms) on a first come, first served basis. Please bring an I.D. Minors can be tested if they are with a parent/guardian. State of Michigan is covering the costs of testing at this event. Insurance is not required and no insurance cards will be requested at this event. A team member will be on site to assist patients with registration.

 

Nasopharyngeal tests will be administered to determine whether persons currently have COVID-19. Antibody testing will not be done at these events. Rapid results will be available in approximately 15 minutes.

 

Testing provided courtesy of the State of Michigan, Honu/LTS, and the Barry-Eaton District Health Department.

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Governor Whitmer unveils plan to get 'MI Vacc to Normal'

Governor Gretchen Whitmer today set the state on a pathway to return to normal by unveiling the ‘MI Vacc to Normal’ plan as the state continues to push toward its goal of vaccinating 70% of Michiganders ages 16 years or older. 

 

To facilitate this goal, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) will base future epidemic order actions on four vaccination-based milestones that, once achieved, will enable Michigan to take a step toward normalcy using data for Michiganders 16 years or older who’ve received their first dose.

 

As of April 29th, 48.8% of state residents age 16+ have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.  The vaccination milestones outlined by the governor are:

 

1) 55% of Michiganders (4,453,304 residents), plus two weeks 

Allows in-person work for all sectors of business. 

 

2) 60% of Michiganders (4,858,150 residents), plus two weeks 

Increases indoor capacity at sports stadiums to 25%. 

Increases indoor capacity at conference centers/banquet halls/funeral homes  to 25%. 

Increases capacity at exercise facilities and gyms to 50%. 

Lifts the curfew on restaurants and bars.  

 

3) 65% of Michiganders (5,262,996 residents), plus two weeks

Lifts all indoor % capacity limits, requiring only social distancing between parties. 

Further relaxes limits on residential social gatherings. 

  

4) 70% of Michiganders (5,667,842 residents), plus two weeks 

Lifts the Gatherings and Face Masks Order such that MDHHS will no longer employ broad mitigation measures unless unanticipated circumstances arise, such as the spread of vaccine-resistant variants. 

 

  

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Rep. Calley to host local office hours April 30, and COA event May 10

State Rep. Julie Calley is inviting residents to attend her April office hours in Lake Odessa and Hastings.

 

“I look forward to connecting with people in our community each month, listening to their thoughts, and hearing about the issues that matter most to their families,” said Calley, of Portland. “I know many people are struggling right now. I’m available to help in any way I can.”

 

The informal meetings will take place Friday, April 30:

  • From 10 to 11 a.m. at the Lake Odessa Village Offices, 839 Fourth Avenue in Lake Odessa, and
  • From 1 to 2 p.m. at the Barry County Tyden Center, 121 Church Street in Hastings. 

No appointment is necessary to attend.

 

The Barry County Commission on Aging is also inviting community members to a conversation with Representative Calley, online via Zoom, or in-person, at the COA on May 10th at 3:00pm.  In-person seating is limited due to Covid protocol. 

 

Please call the COA by May 7th to RSVP for the event:  269-948-4856

 

 

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M-37 makeover begins Monday in Middleville-Caledonia corridor

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is investing $7.4 million from the "Rebuilding Michigan" program to resurface approximately 6 miles of M-37 from the north village limits of Middleville north to 92nd Street in Caledonia.

 

Construction will start Monday, May 3rd. Lane closures and traffic shifts will be in effect throughout the project, which is expected to be completed in mid August.

 

The project will include installation of a new traffic signal at the intersection of M-37 and Finkbeiner Road/Crane Road.

 

New concrete curb and gutter, geometric improvements, new guardrail, culvert replacement, new signs, and pavement markings are included.

 

 

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Car School Bus Accident

A Thornapple Kellogg School bus was hit by another vehicle tuesday afternoon in Allegan county on 108th street. Michigan State Police said a Volvo traveling east on 108th street passed a number of other vehicles and failed to stop at the intersection. Troopers said that's when the car collided with the bus causing it to roll over several times before landing in a ditch. There were no children on the bus.

 

Police were also called to a truck- jeep crash Tuesday afternoon on M-179 and Whitmore road west of Hasting. Police have not released information on the accident.

 

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City Council Meeting 04-26-21

Hastings City Manager Jerry Czarnecki recaps the City Council meeting of Monday, April 26.

 

 

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Open burning ban in place

Due to extreme dry conditions, open burning in Barry County is prohibited until further notice. This latest ban went into effect Monday 4/26.

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Fatal Crash - Bellevue Township

The Eaton County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a 2-vehicle crash that resulted in two fatalities.  The crash occurred around 9:54 a.m. Friday on Cronk Hwy west of Battle Creek Hwy in Bellevue Township.  Two occupants of a Ford Equinox suffered fatal injuries. They are identified as Troy Bass, 53-years-old, from Vermontville and Loralie Hunter, 71-years-old, from Bellevue. A third occupant from that vehicle is in critical condition. The driver of a pickup truck involved in the crash had minor injuries.

 

 Detectives continue to investigate this incident. 

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Hastings Area Schools K-12 back to virtual Learning April 27th

In letter posted on the school facebook page  to Hastings Saxon families, Hastings  Superintendent Matt Goebel announced that starting Tuesday, April 27th,  K-12 classes district-wide will go to virtual learning and return to in person learning May 10th.  This is due to the number of Covid 19 positive cases and close contact levels. 

 

High School and Middle School athletics will continue as they will be following rapid antigen testing protocol each Monday before they practice.

 

Monday's School Board of Education meeting is postponed to Wednesday, April 28th at the Hastings Performing Arts Center at 7:00p.m. with a special meeting of the Board of Education.

 

Tuesday, April 27th Community Forum #2 will be held in person at Hastings Performing Arts Center and virtually on zoom from 6 to 7pm.   Contact Superintendent, Matt Goebel with questions. 269-948-4400.

 

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