Michael Terpening, a Barry County man already in prison for sexual abuse of young men, has been sentenced to an additional five to 30 years in prison by Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Leo Bowman for a scam Terpening and a fellow inmate ran from prison.
Terpening faced eight counts of larceny by conversion; five were dismissed; he pleaded no contest in March to three counts, according to Oakland County Court records.
Terpening’s partner in the scheme, inmate Steven Wilcox, had won a lawsuit against an attorney who later died, and the men tried to collect that debt from people who owed the late attorney money. They also tried to get money from people with no connection to the attorney, including a lottery winner and people critical of Terpening during his trial.
The former director of Earth Services Youth Home in Bellevue, Terpening is serving 10 to 15 years in prison after being convicted in Barry County in 2012 of sexually assaulting young men at the home.
Hastings newest attraction opened Thursday; the Thornapple Plaza, a spacious band shell that will give musicians, artists and entertainers a place to entertain visitors and residents.
Hastings City Manager Jeff Mansfield welcomed the crowd to the Grand Opening of the Plaza and recognized many people who worked on and helped with the its development.
But he credited Larry and Earlene Baum, through the Baum Family Foundation, for making the Plaza a reality by completely funding the newest venue in Hastings that makes it a destination for visitors. The foundation funded the $1.1 million for the band shell and concession carved into a hill next to the River Walk and the Thornapple River.
Mayor Frank Campbell gave a little information on the background of the plaza, recalling that the late David Jasperse told him he thought the location was perfect for a band shell if the city could find the funding to build it.
Larry Baum, with his wife Earlene standing beside him, said: “We just want to thank you people for making this such a wonderful community. Also I’d really like to thank Jeff Mansfield. We could never have done this without his help… and all the people from the city that worked on this project for us, too. Hastings has an awful lot of talent in the arts and this will really give them a place to show what we do have in this community.” His remarks were followed by a traditional ribbon cutting, with him wielding the huge scissors, symbolically opening the plaza.
The first event in the new facility was a performance by the Hastings High School Steel Drum Band which also marked the opening of the Thornapple Arts Council’s three-day Jazz Festival.
Larry and Earlene Baum at the Grand Opening of the Thornapple Plaza.
The Barry County Sheriff’s Office reports the successful use of Naloxone rescue kits twice within four days.
Naloxone rescue kits reverse opioid related overdoses and addresses the increase in drug overdose mortality primarily caused by opioid overdoses. The kits were recently dispersed to the Law Enforcement and Corrections Divisions of the sheriff’s office.
On April 24, Deputy Jeremiah Kimbel successfully administered Naloxone to a person in medical distress due to an apparent overdose in the Village of Nashville. After administering the medication, the patient was transported by EMS to a local hospital.
On April 28, Deputy William Romph also successfully administered Naloxone to a person in medical distress from an apparent overdose in the City of Hastings.
Sheriff’s office personnel took training in March on the use of the kit and how to recognize, treat, and provide follow-up care to one who has overdosed on an opioid. A new law effective Jan. 12, 2015, allows law enforcement agencies to purchase and equip their personnel with the kits when the officers have been trained in their use.
Common opioids include heroin, morphine, Vicodin, methadone, OxyContin and fentanyl, as well as many others.
Catherine Getty, member of Barry County Parks & Recreation Board, gave the board’s annual report to the Barry County Commission Tuesday, updating activities in several areas.
In marketing in 2015, the board increased its use of social media to promote its activities and advertised in Michigan Trails magazine and the Gun Lake Business Directory. Also, the board voted to become a member of the Michigan Association of Recreation and Parks, “to explore professional training opportunities,” she said.
McKeown Park hosted the "No Child Left Indoors" program with 80 children visiting the park for a day of outdoor fun. Maintenance on the Paul Henry Thornapple Trail included 274.5 hours worked, $373.78 in fuel and related costs, with financial support from the Thornapple Trail and Rick Moore continuing to maintain the trail.
Community outreach continues with board members working with area community officials on their trail extensions, she said. Major projects on the trail in 2015 were installing a culvert on the Decker property and securing an easement to close a gap in the trail in Nashville.
Getty told commissioners while the board sees the benefits of a desired sports complex, the project has been put on the back burner for lack of funds.
Strategic planning for the board includes working on future plans, preparing for the next five year plan, hiring a part time facilitator and looking for grants. Also, the special projects committee will disperse $5,000 in matching grants promoting recreation in the county in 2016, Getty said.
Explore the Historic Village & Museum at Historic Charlton Park in Hastings for free during the Tri-River Museum Network’s “Spring Into the Past” event, Saturday and Sunday, April 30 and May 1 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Irving D. Charlton Memorial Museum will be open with an updated exhibit on display, Uncle Irving’s Attic, and the village will be open for self-guided tours.
This year’s theme is “Quilts – A Stitch in Time” and many locations, especially in the Freeport area, are participating in the Tri-River Quilt Trail. Maps are available at the event.
“Take a road trip and explore 27 of West Michigan’s finest small museums located in four counties within the Thornapple, Flat and Grand River vicinities,” said Curator Claire Johnston. “Housed in quaint depots, churches, town halls, store buildings or houses, each of the Tri-Rivers museums is unique and you will find something different in each one.”
Maps and information on each museum are available at http://www.addorio.com/tririver/springintopast2016.pdf
For more, visit www.charltonpark.org
The annual spring Hazardous Household Waste Collection in Barry County is scheduled for May 7 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Barry County Fairgrounds, 1350 North M-37. A medicine take-back event for unused or outdated medications is held at the same time. Leave the name of the medication visible, but black out any identifying information.
Household items like batteries, lead-based paint, used motor oil, solvents and more will be collected. For a complete list of what the collection accepts, go to: www.barryeatonhealth.org.
There is a cost for car, truck and tractor tires, however, the Barry County Solid Waste Oversight committee has agreed to waive the fees for tires collected from the Yankee Springs Recreation Area in an April 17 volunteer clean-up.
The collections are sponsored by the Barry County Solid Waste Oversight Committee with support from the Barry County Fair Board, Waste Management, Barry-Eaton District Health Department, Barry County Substance Abuse Task Force, Sheriff’s Department, and local pharmacies.
Yankee Springs Supervisor Mark Englerth throws one more tire on the pile of tires picked up in a cleanup of the Yamkee Springs Recreation Area.
A semi-car crash this morning on M-43, east of M-50 in Sunfield Township resulted in a 21-year- old Sunfield man being taken to the hospital with potentially life threatening injuries, according to an Eaton County Sheriff’s news release.
A 2001 Oldsmobile Alero, driven by the Sunfield man, was traveling westbound on M-43 and appears to have crossed the center line striking an eastbound semi truck driven by a 27-year-old Illinois man, who was not injured, the release said.
The Sunfield man was treated on scene by Eaton Area EMS and then transported by Aeromed to a Grand Rapids hospital. The Eaton County Sheriff's Office and the Michigan State Police Motor Carrier Division responded to the crash. The investigation is continuing.
The scene at the semi-car crash.
(Photo courtesy of Eaton County Sheriff's Office)
Some 35 people attended the “Coffee with the Chief” Tuesday, talking to Hastings Police Chief Jeff Pratt about their concerns and meeting two of the latest additions to the city staff.
Major complaints were telemarketing and telephone scams (see related story).
Bob Zuniga, the new code compliance officer, started in March. He favors talking to a resident if there is a code violation, rather than leaving a note on a door. “So far, with personal contact, I have almost 100 percent compliance. I’ll give you some time; it may take longer, but it’s better. But, if you’re just not going to fix it, it’s a letter giving you five days to comply,” he said.
On junk cars, Zuniga said if a resident has an inoperative, unlicensed or untitled car, or cars, and they are housed out of sight in a garage, it is not a violation. Another part of the code says if such cars are screened from public view, it is permitted. “I can’t make a case if I can’t see it from the road,” he said.
New DPS Supervisor Jim James, who came to Hastings in November last year, called the city an “amazing, forward thinking community.” He said there is great communication between the DPS and the police department and they work well together.
The DPS crews work from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., but respond to emergencies 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A resident can call 911 after hours for an emergency and the dispatcher will send someone out to help, James said.
Some of this summer’s projects are: East State Road, the Veteran’s Plaza, Clinton Street, the banks of Fall Creek, Fish Hatchery Park ponds, a large storm water outlet off Taffee Drive and applying 80,000 yards of chip seal on some streets.
“We have a lot of things going on this summer; The DPS crews take a lot of pride in the community. They are a great crew, they go above and beyond,” James said.
Barry County Transit Director Bill Voigt confirmed that the transit system has been nominated for a national award by the Michigan Department of Transportation, Office of Passenger Transportation. The award is the Federal Transportation Administrator's award for the ”Outstanding Rural Transit System.”
"The nomination recognizes the Transit System, including all of our fantastic clients and organizations that make up the Barry County Transit family,” Voigt said.
During 2015, The transit’s ridership increased by 30 percent overall, including a 9 percent increase in senior rides and a 20 percent increase in rides for those with disabilities. The increase was due to awareness presentations and the decision to access the outer areas every service day rather than to assign individual days of the week, he said.
“The previous practice made fiscal sense, but we wanted to try and go beyond that. We also extended our hours until 7:30 p.m. with a couple of routes and may increase those due to their popularity,” he said.
“At this point we've only been nominated. Whoever receives the award will be presented in Ashville North Carolina in October. We have our fingers crossed!!”
One of the major concerns of Hastings citizens at Tuesdays “Coffee with the Chief” with Police Chief Jeff Pratt was telephone scams and robo-calls and the inability to stop them. There are more calls than ever, some callers have heavy accents, likely from out of the country, others are recordings and robocalls, and residents said being on the “Do not call” list does not stop them, residents said.
Pratt, who gets the same calls, encouraged residents to get the number of the telephone with any request for money or personal information, call the police department and give an officer the number. An officer will call the number to talk to the caller to try discourage further calls.
In addition to the scams that have been around a while, crooks are busy with new ones, Pratt said. Most people know they have not won a $100 million lottery, or that they owe the “IRS” back taxes and will be arrested if they don’t send the scammers money.
However, Pratt said new scams appear all the time. He recently got one supposedly from Dell computers saying he had a “Trojan Horse” virus in his computer and if he gave them his credit card information they would fix it. It’s not Dell and they won’t fix anything, Pratt said.
Be aware of another new scam where the crook tells you almost all of the information on your credit card; name, expiration date and the numbers on the front of the card. What they don’t have, and are trying to find out, are the three numbers on the back of the card so they can drain your account, he said. "Never give personal or financial to anyone calling you on the telephone," Pratt stressed. After getting the number, the best thing to do is to just hang up.
Government offices like the IRS don’t use the telephone for legal matters; they write letters. And, make sure it really is your grandson and he really is in trouble in Mexico and needs bail money before you open your wallet.
A 22-year-old woman from the Martin area died at the scene of a one-car crash on April 26 in Watson Township, according to a Michigan State Police Wayland Post news release.
Witnesses to the 7 p.m. crash reported seeing the driver of a Jeep Grand Cherokee using her cell phone prior to the crash and said the driver was swerving all over the roadway on M-222 near 19th Street. The vehicle appeared to have run off of the right side of the road and rolled over several times. It’s believed the woman was wearing her seatbelt but was still ejected from the vehicle.
The crash remains under investigation. Troopers were assisted on scene by Allegan County Sheriff's Department, Wayland EMS, and Hopkins Township Fire Department.
The Barry County Road Commission will be paving several roads today(April 27th). West State Road from Hastings City Limits to Iroquois Trail, Charlton Park from M-79 to River Road, Charlton Park from M-43 to Coats Grove Road. Patch Paving will take place in the afternoon on Brown Road from Martin to Woodland Road.
The deadline to get on the Aug. 2 Primary Election ballot has passed, as has the deadline to withdraw from the ballot. What follows are the names of the offices and candidates for county, Hastings and Middleville offices as well as millage requests.
Barry County Commission:
District 1: Howard R. Gibson, Jerry Sarver
District 2: Dan Parker, Nick Wake
District 3: David Jackson
District 4: Jon Smelker
District 5: Ben Geiger, Bob Vanderboegh
District 6: Vivian Lee Conner
District 7: Heather Lynn Wing
Other elected county officials:
Sheriff: Dar Leaf, Robert Jordan
Register of Deeds: Barbara D. Hurless
County Clerk: Pam Palmer, Craig Stolsonburg
Prosecutor: Julie Nakfoor-Pratt
Drain Commissioner: Russ Yarger, Mark Doster, Jim Dull
Treasurer: Susan Vandecar
City of Hastings:
Mayor: David J. Tossava
1st Ward: Al Jarvis, Therese Maupin-Moore
2nd Ward: John Resseguie, William Westerveld
3rd Ward: Donald Bowers, Don Smith
4th Ward: Willard Redman
Board of Review: Tom Wilt, Donald Tubbs, Melissa Winick
Village of Middleville:
President: Charles Pullen
Trustee: Sherry Lynn Ronning
Township millage requests:
Barry Township asks for renewal of 2 mills for fire protection for 2016 through 2019 which would raise $230,200 the first year,
and, also renewal of 2 mills for police protection for 2016 through 2019 which would raise $230,200 the first year.
Hope Township asks for renewal of 1 mill for fire protection and cemetery maintenance (.75 mill for fire and .25 mill for cemetery) from 2016 through 2019, which would raise $124,622.29 the first year,
and, also renewal of 1 mill for road repair, maintenance and operating expenses, which would raise $124,622.29 the first year.
Orangeville Township seeks renewal of 1.5 mills for road improvements from 2017 through 2020, raising an estimated $198,599 in the first year.
Barry County-wide millage: Charlton Park asks for new additional millage for operation and maintenance of Historic Charlton Park Village, Museum and Recreation Area of 0.3750 mills for 10 years, which would raise $767,476 the first year, $755,298 which would be disbursed to Charlton Park.
The August Primary Election many times determines who wins a seat. If two or more Republicans run against each other, one will be selected, and if they have no opponent, Democrat or write in, they are sure to win the seat in the November Election.
What follows is the primary ballot for the 16 townships in the county.
Assyria: Mike Timmons is running for supervisor, Elizabeth A. Miller for treasurer, Eugene Waterbury and James Miller for trustee. There is no candidates for clerk.
Baltimore: Jeremy Miller and Chad VanSyckle are running for supervisor, Penelope J. Ypma for clerk, Anna Miller and Melissa L. VanSyckle for treasurer, Gerard R. Ypma for trustee. Roxanne E. Frey, Laura S. Kingma and Jennifer J. McKeever for Dowling Public Library Board of Trustees
Barry: Wesley Kahler is running for supervisor, Dawn M. Crapo, Debra Knight, Charity Frie and Ingrid Pagano for clerk, Judith E. Wooer and Anthony Crosariol for treasurer, Teresa Schuiteboer, Lee Campbell, James Alden and Ricky Lawrence for trustee.
Carlton: Brad H. Carpenter is running for supervisor, Michele Erb for clerk, Kris Slagel, David Yonker, Rhonda VanOoy and Terri Geiger for treasurer, Cary Smith and Gary VandeCar for trustee.
Castleton: Cheryl Hartwell is running for supervisor, Marcia Scramlin for clerk, Joy E. Mulder for treasurer, Earl M. Wilson and Michael Trahan for trustee.
Hastings: Jim Brown is running for supervisor, Anita Mennell for clerk, Jenee Phillips for treasurer, Ron Mennell, James M. Partridge II, Keith A. Murphy and William J. Wetzel for trustee.
Hope: Mark S. Feldpausch and Mark Brandli are running for supervisor, Deborah Jackson for clerk, Arlene Tonkin for treasurer, Matthew T. Peake, Ken Chandler, Alice Hunt and David Messelink for trustee.
Irving: Jamie R. Knight is running for supervisor, Sharon Olson and Shelly Lake for clerk, Lynnette Ann Wingeier, treasurer, Michael Buehler, Dean Bass, Larry Brummel Jr. and Mike Wright for trustee.
Johnstown: Barbara J. Earl is running for supervisor, Sheri M. Babcock for clerk, Karmen K. Nickerson for treasurer, Deana Powell, Jeffrey T, Warren, Roy W. Thunder, Robert Dirmeyer, Jr., Blake W. Griffin and Twilla Gibbons for trustee.
Maple Grove: Jeff Butler is running for supervisor, Susie Butler for clerk, Ginger Cole for treasurer, Larry Hook, Steve Gauss, and Doug Westendorp for trustee.
Orangeville: Thomas J. Rook is running for supervisor, Janet Browneye and Melody Risner for clerk, Michelle Ritchie for treasurer, Robert Perino, Heather Foreman-Colthurst, Linda Ribble, Jodi L. Patrick and Karmin Bourdo for trustee.
Prairieville: Jim Stoneburner and Chris Khoury are running for supervisor, Ted DeVries for clerk, Judy Pence for treasurer, Richard Van Niman and Breanna Borden for trustee. Deb Young, Kevin Louden, John H. Hoek and Scott Kuebler for Parks and Recreation Board.
Rutland: Gerald Schmiedicke, Larry Watson, and Curt Cybulski are running for supervisor, Robin Hawthorne for clerk, Sandra Greenfield for treasurer, Sandra L. James, Marlin Walters, Michael Hallifax, and Brenda Bellmore for trustee.
Thornapple: Michael T. Bremer is running for supervisor, Cindy Willshire for clerk, Debra K. Buckowing for treasurer, Ross DeMaagd, Jake Jelsema, Andrew Lindemulder, Curt Campbell and Sandra L. Rairigh for trustee.
Woodland: Jeffrey S. MacKenzie is running for supervisor, Nancy Stanton for clerk, Shawn Durkee for treasurer. Two trustee spots are open.
Yankee Springs: Paul Heystek and Mark Englerth are running for supervisor, Janice Lippert and Thomas Wallace for clerk, Alice M. Jansma for treasurer, Roger Rottschafer, Jacob M. Welch, Shannon VandenBerg, and Patrick Jansens for trustee.
The Barry County Board of Commissioners Tuesday dealt with several recommendations from last week’s committee of the whole, including approving:
* A 30-year right of way easement agreement between Barry County and Nashville VFW 8260 for $5,000, paid by the Thornapple Trail Association, to complete the Thornapple Trail between Maple Valley High School and Fuller Street Elementary School.
* a proposal from CBIZ Retirement Plan Services for $11,000 to complete the 2014 Actuarial Valuation of Other Post Employment Benefits for Barry County (health and life insurance)
* Van Buren County continuing as fiduciary for any 2015 Homeland Security grants that Barry County Emergency Management receives. Barry County will receive a baseline grant of $6,394.50 for conferences, exercises, drills and training; the 5th District Rescue Team has been approved to receive $60,000 for equipment.
* the Barry County 2016 equalization value as presented by Equalization Director Timothy Vandermark.
* a request to transfer a 2008 Dodge Charger from the Family Court to Planning and Zoning and transfer a 2007 Dodge Charger from the Friend of the Court to the IT Department and sell surplus vehicles by sealed bid: a 2004 Ford, a 2001 Ford F-150, a 2002 Ford, and a trailer with a 5 foot by 10 foot bed.
A fight between brothers put one of them in the hospital, Hastings Police report. When officers responded to call to the 800 block of East Madison on April 24, a man said his brother came to the house, started an argument and put him in a headlock.
The victim said that he was able to get out of the head lock by punching his brother several times in the head, eventually knocking him out. He then called for help.
The injured brother was treated by EMS and transported to the hospital for further examination of his injuries. The incident report will be sent to the Barry County Prosecutor’s Office for review.
In his report, Police Chief Jeff Pratt noted the Hastings Cadet Program was selected the “Charity of the Month” for May. The Charity House, located at the corner of Apple and Cass streets behind O’Rielly Auto Parts, collects returnable bottles and cans to benefit a different good cause each month.
“Please feel free to drop off your returnable cans and bottles to the Charity House,” Pratt said. “The proceeds from this event will help sponsor the second annual Hastings Cadet’s graduation program in June.”
A visibly shaken Mayor Frank Campbell took care of what had to be done Monday, addressing how the Hastings City Council would fill the empty 4th Ward seat, left vacant by the death of one of Hastings most valuable leaders, David Jasperse. At the meeting, one of Jasperse’s favorite shirts and a vase of pink flowers were at his council seat.
Those interested who live in the 4th Ward can submit an application to City Clerk Tom Emery before May 18 to be interviewed by the council on May 23. The panel will then select the new member to finish the term that expires in December, 2018. The position will be advertised for two weeks, and included in the next water bill.
Eric Gregory Lawson pled no contest today in Barry County Circuit Court to armed robbery as a fourth habitual offender. As part of his plea, Lawson agreed to a mandatory minimum of 25 years in prison, the Barry County Prosecutor’s office said in a news release today.
Barry County Prosecutor Julie Nakfoor Pratt required the mandatory minimum as part of the plea to address Lawson’s lengthy and violent criminal history. The charges stem from the Oct. 14, 2015 robbery of the Hastings Walgreens. A less serious offense of unarmed robbery and a weapon’s offense were dismissed as part of the plea.
“We hope to bring some measure of peace and justice to the victims and to our community,” Nakfoor-Pratt said. The prosecutor’s office is coordinating efforts with the prosecutor’s office in Trumbull County Ohio, where Lawson is also facing charges for robbery.
Lawson’s sentencing is set for June 15 at 8:15 a.m. before Judge Amy McDowell.
This Saturday April 30th, the Michigan State Police will partner with the Drug Enforcement Administration and other law enforcement agencies for National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day to provide a venue for citizens to dispose of unwanted and unused prescription drugs. You can drop off your prescriptions to the Michigan State Police Wayland Post at 544 N. Main St. in Wayland between 10AM-2PM this Saturday. No Liquids, inhalers, patches, or syringes will be accepted.
The Barry County Road Commission will be paving the following roads today April 26th:
Charlton Park Road from M-43 to Coats Grove Road, Charlton Park Road from M-79 to Center Road, and Sisson Road from Woodschool Road to Fighter Road. Expect some minor delays on these road. Norris Road between Mullen Road and Pine lake Road will be closed this week for Drainage work.
A proposed Urban Services and Economic Development Agreement for a Urban Services District (USD) between Hastings and Rutland Township is smaller than the original request in response to concerns at a Rutland Township public hearing on the expansion, City Manager Jeff Mansfield told the Hastings City Council Monday.
The smaller USD now includes only parcels with, “fairly near term need for city services,” however, Mansfield said it still meets the terms and conditions for a USD in the Hastings Area Joint Future Land Use Plan. The council set a public hearing for May 9; if there is no referendum during the 30-day waiting period following the hearing, final action can be taken, Mansfield said.
The council also learned that the ISO rating for Hastings/Birch Fire Department is a four out of a possible 10, with the lower the rating the better. The ratings are considered by insurance companies when setting some premium rates in the department’s coverage area. Mansfield said in the past, areas within five miles of a fire departments distribution system, (fire hydrants) were given the same ratings as areas within the distribution area. Now, those areas are classified at six.
In other business,
* Williams & Works was awarded a $118,850 bid for engineering services for the Safe Routes to School project. Hays said the company helped secure the grant for the project, their price is competitive, and they have done good work on a great number of projects for the city over the years. The funding, 16.5 percent of the overall cost, will come from major and local street funds.
When Councilwoman Brenda McNabb-Stange asked why they did not take bids for the project, Mansfield said the city asked Williams and Works to help with the grant request, which resulted in obtaining a larger grant and also reduced its bid when told it was too high. “I’m very comfortable with Williams and Works,” he said. //
* A YMCA request for use of the ball field at Fish Hatchery Park for select days during the summer months was approved.
* A Relay for Life Fat Man 5K, which a representative said is really a .1 K with a donut stand about half way through the course, was approved for July 16 at the Fish Hatchery Park soccer field from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The fun run will raise funds for the American Cancer Society.
* Following a required public hearing on the need for a special assessment district for maintenance and improvements of downtown parking lots, the council approved the resolution recognizing the need and set a public hearing for May 9 to take comments on the certified assessment roll.
* Mayor Frank Campbell read an official City of Hastings Proclamation observing April 24 thorough May 3 as White Cane Week.
The Lions are dedicated to saving sight by eyeglasses an eye examinations for the needy and through its support of Welcome Home for the Blind, Leader Dogs for the Blind, Michigan Eye Bank, Bear Lake Camp for the Visually Impaired Youth and other worthy community projects, Campbell said.
The Lions sell White Canes to support its causes, and Campbell urged, “all citizens to become familiar with the meaning and purpose of the White Cane law and lend support to the Lions Club projects.”
A Nashville, Michigan man has been sentenced to an additional 15 years in federal prison for having 650,000 images and videos of child porn in his possession. David Heinsen, 70, was sentenced Monday to 20 years in federal prison, but he is currently serving 40-60 years for Criminal Sexual Conduct in Barry County. The court made the determination that Heinsen will have to serve 15 years of his federal sentence after his state sentence has concluded. Heinsen had kept videos of himself sexually assaulting an eight-year-old girl with Down syndrome over 20 years ago. Judge Paul Maloney emphasized in his sentencing that Heinsen will never be released from prison.
*Information from Fox 17 News*
The Hastings City Council Monday approved the use of the area around the Civil War soldier’s monument at Tyden Park for the new Veteran’s Plaza after a presentation by Dr. Jim Atkinson.
The city’s veteran’s memorial, a joint venture of the Hastings and American Legion Post 45, will be built around the existing monument and include four benches, three memorials, stamped concrete areas, a total of eight lit flagpoles, one for each of the six branches of the military, including the Merchant Marines, one for the POW/MIA, and a taller one for the American flag.
The veteran’s monuments and Blue Star Highway marker now at the Barry County Courthouse will be moved to the Veteran’s Plaza. With the approval, bids will be sought. No firm financial figures are available yet because the plans are not finalized, Atkinson said.
The $15,000 allocated for the memorial comes from the Parks and Recreation capital improvements fund. The Barry Community Foundation is holding $600 raised a few years ago, and will accept donations from individuals or businesses for the memorial.
The council approved holding the Memorial Day Parade on May 30 stepping off at 9:30 a.m. Atkinson said the parade will take the same route it always has, gathering at Boltwood Street and marching to Riverside Cemetery while making several stops along the route to place wreaths and execute a gun volley.
An official city Proclamation read by Mayor Frank Campbell set May 19 through 21 for the red Poppy drive by the American Legion Post 45 Auxiliary. //
The Poppy is recognized as a symbol of the sacrifice of all who served in the military and died serving their country, and the hope that none died in vain, Campbell said. The nine-piece poppies are all assembled by veterans. Poppies are never sold, but given for a contribution.
The bright red poppy became the symbol of fallen soldiers through a poem written by Canadian Colonel John McCrae about the stark contrast of red poppies blooming on the graves of hundreds of soldiers who died on Flanders battlefields in western Belgium and Northern France in World War I.
The poppy was adopted as the official memorial flower of the VFW at its national convention in Seattle in August of 1922, following the first nationwide distribution of poppies ever conducted by any veteran’s organization.
The Eaton County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to the Sherwood Forest Campground in Walton Township for a missing 13 year old boy with a cognitive impairment about 9 p.m. on April 24.
Deputy Aaron Campbell and his K9 partner Cash responded to assist in the search and located the boy in a wooded area. He was found just as the Michigan State Police Aviation unit was preparing to assist in the search.
The boy had not suffered any injuries and was reunited with his parents.
Middleville’s sixth annual Thornapple Woodpecker Festival on April 30 will feature birding walks and golf cart shuttle of the woodpecker's nesting area along the Thornapple River and Paul Henry Thornapple Trail. Since woodpeckers nest in trees along the river, canoe and kayak touring also give a good chance to see the nesting birds.
Middleville has an established population of the rare red-headed woodpecker, the other five Eastern State woodpeckers and ducks, geese, swans, herons and other species of water birds along the river.
Nature photographer Michael B DeBoer will share the joys of photographing the abundant nature that surrounds us and Keith Kintigh, MDNR, will speak on the Kirkland Warbler and North American raptors.
The event is headquartered at the Middleville Village Hall, 100 East Main Street where there will be crafts and bird related exhibits from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Activities are also planned for the new pavilion.
Parking, public restrooms and a drinking fountain are available at the hall. The event is all free, except a donation is expected for the golf cart tour.
For more and a full schedule, visit http://woodpeckerfest.webs.com/
Kyler Germinder, 5, from Hastings is the winner of WOOD-TV’s “Connecting with Community Award,” announced in a special report on April 22 at 5 p.m.
Kyler’s mom Shelly Germinder said when Kyler was smaller and in the hospital, he was scared, and a nurse gave him a stuffed animal to hold to comfort him. The St. Augustine student remembered the kindness of the nurse and the furry animal when he needed a school project that would demonstrate mercy.
His plan was to get stuffed animals, give them to the people who help children all the time to give to the kids when they were scared or in a stressful situation.
“Kyler’s 3 B’s,” for “Be Brave Bears,” started in December, 2015. He began by donating stuffed animals to police agencies including the Hastings Police Department and Kalamazoo Public Safety and his program spread as other community organizations heard about his project.
For example, a 6th grade class at Thornapple Kellogg in Middleville donated 122 stuffed animals for Kyler to distribute. Some of the other places the animals have been donated include Bronson Methodist Hospital’s ER, Barry Community Mental Health, Safe Harbor, and the Department of Health and Human Services.
In the WOOD-TV report, Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley said the stuffed animals are in the department’s cruisers, noting that, “anything that comforts children in a stressful situation is a good thing.”
When Kyler donated a tote of stuffed animals to the Hastings Police Department in February, Shelly said they had several totes at home filled with animals and, “as long as we keep getting bears, we’ll keep giving them to people who help children.”
Experts will discuss debunking common housing myths in a conference hosted by the Fair Housing Center of Southwest Michigan.
The 2016 Fair Housing Conference will be Friday, April 29 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Fetzer Center, 2350 Business Cr., at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.
Check in is from 8 a.m. to 8:30 am.
The conference is free and open to the public, but registration is required as a continental breakfast and lunch will be provided. Register at the center’s website, fhcswm.org before April 26. More information is available at 269-276-9100.
The workshop will be led by Gail M. Schechter, who has more than 30 years experience in community organizing, and is recognized as a premier advocate for affordable housing in affluent areas.
Schechter will be followed by Robert Breymaier, a fair housing policy advocate for more than 20 years, and nationally recognized for establishing a racially integrated community producing multiple benefits for residents.
Attendees will select one of two tracks to follow. One on implicit biases and how they lead to unintended discriminatory housing policies and procedures, and the other on community development and planning and the benefits of creating communities of opportunities. //
Schechter is contributing author of a chapter in the book “The Chicago Freedom Movement: Martin Luther King Jr. and Civil Rights Activism in the North.” The book will be for sale and a book signing held. She was executive director of Open Communities in Winnetka Illinois for 22 years.
Breymaier is executive director of the Housing Center in Oak Park Illinois. He formerly served as the Community Relations Director for the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities.
The Center, a private 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, provides fair housing education for housing providers and consumers, investigates allegations of violations of fair housing law, advocates for public and private policies that promote communities of opportunity, and has the mission to promote integration and eliminate housing discrimination.
The agency serves eight counties in Southwest Michigan, including Barry County.
Legislation to prevent private companies from fleecing citizens by charging exorbitant fees for copies of deeds that are available from their county Register of Deeds for $1 a page was signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder April 21.
Barry County Register of Deeds Barb Hurless strongly endorses the new law, saying the companies charge as much as $83 for a copy of a deed.
Not a week goes by without someone in the county calling or coming into the office questioning a mailing they have received from one of those companies, she said.
If a Barry County resident gets a mailing from a company offering to sell deeds, Hurless asks them to bring it, or send it, to her office so she can report it to the attorney general’s office to bring action against the company.
"This law is long overdue," said Amy Bissell, President of the Michigan Association of Register of Deeds. "For years citizens have been solicited by private companies charging as much as $80 for their own deed when they are able to obtain copies of the same deed from their local register of deeds office for as little as $1."
Under the new law, the attorney general can bring action against anyone who knowingly violates the law. The court can order the person to refund all of the money paid by the victims of the scam and the company may be ordered to pay a fine of $100 for the first violation of the act followed by $200 for a subsequent violation.
Fines collected under this section will go to public libraries.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at 11am this Saturday at the Barry Community Foundation Leason Sharpe Hall for a Hastings icon.
WBCH first reported on April 12 that David Jasperse died at his home in Hastings following a long illness.
Since his passing countless individuals who knew Jasperse have expressed their sadness and condolences, all agreeing that the community will never be quite the same without Dave. Few, if any, men have given so much to their community, as a pharmacist and through his service on so many boards and committees.
He owned and operated Bosley Pharmacy on South Jefferson Street for many years. His tireless work for Hastings and Barry County earned him a place on the top five pharmacists in the country dedicated to their customers and the larger community at a national pharmacist's convention in Las Vegas.
City Manager Jeff Mansfield knew and respected Dave. What follows are some insights Mansfield shared about him.
Some of the posts Dave served on for his community include the Hastings City Council for more than 40 years, the Hastings Planning Commission, Joint Planning Alliance, the Public Safety Committee, Finance Committee, Fire Committee, Parks and Recreation Committee, Property Committee, Water Supply and Sewerage Committee, Streets Committee and City of Hastings Area Joint Planning Commission. He was a member of the Mainstreet Savings Bank Board of Directors for nearly 30 years.
Dave led the city through the development of many community Master Plans, most recently the 2012 update of the Hastings Comprehensive Community Plan.
As a local pharmacist, he was a trusted advisor, advocate and medical confidant during the many serious and debilitating illnesses and injuries suffered by ourselves, our friends, our families and our neighbors.
Widely known as a staunch supporter and huge fan of South Jefferson Street, Dave led his fellow "Merry Merchants of South Jefferson Street" in many community activities including the St. Patrick's Day Parade.
Dave was an outstanding member of the Hastings Rotary Club. His exemplary service was recognized by the bestowal of the Club's Red Rose Award; he was also a longstanding Rotary Paul Harris Fellow. He earned the Hastings Bar Association's prestigious Liberty Bell Award.
He relentlessly shunned the spotlight as a financial supporter of many local causes, but he supported virtually every local activity and program throughout the years.
His commitment to "Service above Self" and his strict adherence to the tenets of the Four Way Test: "Is it the Truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build good will and better friendships? Is it beneficial to all concerned?" are unquestionable.
Dave is survived by his wife Emily, son Jeff and wife Amy and two grandchildren, Isabelle and Ava.
Law Day is held every year to celebrate the role of law in our society and to bring a deeper understanding of the legal profession.
The Barry County Bar Association invites the public to the presentation of the Liberty Bell Award to Don Geukes of Middleville in a ceremony Friday, April 29 at 12:15 p.m. in the Barry County Circuit Courtroom.
Featured speaker will be James Redford, chief legal counsel to Governor Rick Snyder, interim director of Michigan’s Veteran’s Agency and former Kent County Circuit Court Judge.
A welcome reception for Geukes for Redford will be held in the Barry County Commission Chambers starting at 11 a.m.
Thornapple Township Supervisor Mike Bremer confirmed that David Middleton, long-time member of Thornapple Township Emergency Services and chief for the last several years, is no longer working in TTES for the township.
“He’s not working for us anymore,” Bremer said April 22. “A big part of that is the budget. The emergency service budget is struggling and this is a big part of correcting that.”
Before Middleton was full time, he worked part time, “and that worked well,” Bremer said.
Deputy Chief Randy Eaton has agreed to be interim chief on a part-time basis. “The fire trucks will continue to roll, so will the ambulances,” Bremer said. “The existing officers, staff and paid on-call personnel all know their jobs and are stepping up and doing a little extra.”
The recent changes by the state in personal property taxes will take money from municipalities, and was not supposed to hurt emergency services, but TTES will lose $27,000 this year; the first of five years of cuts that will phase out the tax entirely, Bremer said.
The state is supposed to reimburse emergency services, but Bremer is skeptical of that, “fixing the difficult financial position the department is in.”
The TTES service area was originally Thornapple and Yankee Springs townships and part of Irving Township.
TTES lost more revenue when Yankee Springs Township contracted with Wayland Fire Department and Wayland Area Ambulance Service for fire protection and ambulance service, effective April. 1.
Eaton has agreed to “help us over the hump,” for the next several months; position and pay will be discussed later, Bremer said.
Middleton did not immediately return a voice message asking for comment.
Troopers from the Michigan State Police Wayland Post are investigating a two vehicle crash that occured at approx. 7:15AM Wednesday morning. The crash occurred on 58th street near 133rd Ave, in Allegan Counties Manlius Township. Initial investigation indicates that a southbound vehicle crossed the centerline of the roadway and struck a northbound vehicle head-on. Both drivers from Fennville, were trapped in their vehicles and were extricated by fire personnel. One driver was flown to Spectrum Butterworth by Air Care Helicopter, the other driver was transported by ambulance. Both drivers are in stable but serious condition. The cause of the crash is still unknown.
A fire Wednesday afternoon destroyed a pole barn with hay, a bobcat skid loader, and a case tractor and loader at 817 East Brogan Rd. in Barry County's Baltimore Township. Cause of that fire remains under investigation.
Hastings Police Chief Jeff Pratt’s next “Coffee with the Chief” will be an evening meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday April 26, upstairs in the Hastings Public Library.
Pratt said he is open to hearing concerns of the citizens of Hastings, as well as suggestions on how to make Hastings a great place to live, work and play.
“Bob Zuniga , the city’s new Code Compliance officer will be a special guest speaker and will be happy to answer questions… I will also have Jim James, supervisor of the Hastings Department of Public Service garage, present to answer questions and give an update on projects going on inside the city. Coffee and donuts will be provided!” Pratt said.
The Thornapple Arts Council Jazz Festival started in 2003 and has grown to be the largest jazz festival of its kind matching more student groups and performers to professional jazz musicians through its clinician program than any other festival in the United States, according to the Thornapple Arts Council website.
This year, the Jazz Festival will have the honor of providing the first musical performance at the Grand Opening of the Thornapple Plaza on April 28 at 1 p.m.
The 700-seat venue is the latest entertainment attraction in the city of Hastings.
The festival brings over 10,000 people to Hastings and provides a weekend of free jazz performance to the public from many venues with performances by more than 130 school and professional jazz bands and ensembles from all over the state.
It’s a great chance for student groups to work with professional musicians in a non-competitive festival that puts education and jazz promotion and appreciation at its core.
Headlining performances are available for a small fee allowing residents of rural Barry County and the surrounding area the opportunity to enjoy acts like the internationally known Four Freshmen.
This year’s headliners include the Liberty Call Navy Band, Steelheads with Andy Narell, the Thornapple Jazz Band with Brandon Cooper, WMU Songbird and the River City Jazz Ensemble. Headliners perform at Central Auditorium, Thornapple Plaza and First Presbyterian Church.
For a complete schedule for the three day event, visit the TAC website thornapplearts.org/jazzfestival.
The Thornapple Plaza in downtown Hastings will have a Grand Opening Thursday, April 28 at 12:45 p.m., with its first performance by the Hastings High School Steel Drum Band at 1 p.m.
The Grand Opening is a way to officially thank the Baum Family Foundation for its generous contribution to the community and begin the 2016 Thornapple Arts Council’s Jazz Festival.
Hastings Mayor Frank Campbell, members of the Baum Family Foundation, the Hastings City Council, Downtown Development Authority, Thornapple Arts Council and Barry County Chamber of Commerce will all be part of the official opening of Hastings latest entertainment attraction.
The new 700-seat amphitheater will open with a traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony followed by the Steel Drum Band kicking off the three-day Thornapple Arts Council Jazz Festival.
This summer, on several nights a week from June-August, the Plaza will be home to a wide variety of musical entertainment.
What follows will be years of free musical entertainment for Hastings residents and visitors in a growing, culturally-vibrant downtown.//
Hastings Mayor Frank Campbell said it all started when a prospering business moved to a bigger space in downtown Hastings and the city saw an opportunity to purchase the vacant property and an adjacent house lot.
The concept for a large band shell on the Thornapple River was the vision of Hastings business owner and 30-year city council member, the late Dave Jasperse, Campbell said.
Jasperse thought the river-front property was the perfect spot for such a cultural gathering place. After several discussions between Hastings City Manager Jeff Mansfield and local manufacturer-philanthropist Larry Baum, the concept took shape and the Baum Family Foundation agreed to fund the entire project.
“It started as just an outdoor amphitheater, but with all the interest from area organizations, it was clear Thornapple Plaza will be used for a lot of things,” Baum said. “We wanted it to be a whole community asset that helps make Hastings a regional destination.”
“I see the Thornapple Plaza impacting the Downtown in several ways,” Mansfield commented. “First, we fully anticipate that larger events at the Plaza will bring visitors to Hastings from all over Southwest Michigan, benefiting not only the downtown merchants, but businesses throughout the broader Hastings community.
“But, the Plaza’s key location on the east end of Hastings’ traditional downtown will also serve to draw event attendees through our downtown, bringing much more exposure to the businesses located along the way.”
The inaugural event for the Plaza is a three-day, educational and multi-generational Jazz clinic and celebration.
“The Thornapple Plaza provides a large-scale outdoor facility that we don't have anywhere else in Barry County,” said Thornapple Arts Council Executive Director Megan Lavell.
“It's a beautiful facility that puts the Arts in the public's eye as they drive by, use the Riverwalk Trail, or meander through downtown.
“It allows organizations like the Thornapple Arts Council to host big names in an outdoor setting during warm months. Large cities throughout our region host big outdoor performances, and now we can do the same right here in Barry County,” Lavell said.
On opening night, April 28, Andy Narell and the Mott Steelheads will take the Thornapple Plaza stage at 5 p.m. The United States Navy Liberty Call Big Band is the Jazz Festival’s top headliner and will perform Saturday, April 30 at 5:30 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public.
The Thornapple Plaza is at 301 East State across from the Hastings Public Library.
The public can enjoy the Hastings High School Band concert on May 19 at 7 p.m., and the Hastings City Band will perform every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. from June 15 – July 13.
Thursdays from June 9 – Aug. 25 will feature local musical groups in a variety of musical styles. Friday Night Features, at 7:30 pm, will welcome special headliners: Jr. Walker’s Allstar Band on June 17, country artist Matt Williams on July 15, and beach/surfing music band West Side Soul Surfers, on Aug. 12.
For more information on events in downtown Hastings and the Thornapple Plaza visit www.DowntownHastings.com. For more on the Jazz Festival, visit www.thornapplearts.org/jazzfestival.
The City of Hastings is also on Facebook and Twitter
Hastings DPS Crews have made two passes through the city, picking up compostable yard debris that were placed curbside by city residents. The city is now officially done with the spring pickup and reminds residents that any additional compostable yard debris may be taken to the city compost site on West State Road, just west of Riverside Cemetary.
Eaton County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched to a three-car rollover crash on Waverly Road near Old Lansing Road about 10 p.m. Tuesday, April 12.
Preliminary investigation shows a vehicle northbound on Waverly Road swerved to miss a bicyclist in the road, causing it to strike a southbound vehicle head on. A third vehicle then rear-ended the southbound car that was struck head on. One person was ejected from one of the vehicles.
Patients were transported to Sparrow Hospital and their condition is unknown at this time. Alcohol is not believed to be a factor in the crash.
The deadline to turn in paperwork to get on the Aug. 2 primary ballot has passed, however, the unofficial ballot likely will change. Those who change their mind have two days to withdraw, and township clerks have until Monday, April 25 to get all of their candidate’s names to the Barry County Clerk.
In many cases the primary election determines who will win a seat if two Republicans face off, and there is no Democratic opposition, the winner is assured of election in November.
What follows is the primary ballot so far for the 16 townships in the county. Updates will be added when the ballot is finalized.
Assyria: Mike Timmons is running for supervisor, Elizabeth A. Miller for treasurer, Eugene Waterbury and James Miller for trustee.
Baltimore: Jeremy Miller(Dem) and Chad VanSyckle (Rep) are running for supervisor, Penelope J. Ypma for clerk, Anna Miller (no party given) and Melissa L. VanSyckle (Rep) are running for treasurer, Gerard R. Ypma for trustee.
Barry: Wesley Kahler is running for supervisor, Dawn M. Crapo (Rep) and Debra Knight (Rep) and Charity Frie, (Dem) for clerk, Judith E. Wooer, (Rep) and Anthony Crosariol (Rep) for treasurer, Teresa Schuiteboer (Rep), Lee Campbell (Rep) and James Alden (Rep) and Ricky Lawrence (Rep) for trustee.
Carlton: Brad H. Carpenter is running for supervisor, Kris Slagel (Rep) and David Yonker (Rep) for treasurer, Cary Smith for trustee.
Castleton: Cheryl Hartwell is running for supervisor, Marcia Scramlin for clerk, Joy E. Mulder for treasurer, Earl M. Wilson and Michael Trahan for trustee.
Hastings: Jim Brown is running for supervisor, Anita Mennell for clerk, Jenee Phillips for treasurer, Ron Mennell (Rep), James M. Partridge II (Rep) Keith A. Murphy (Dem) and William J. Wetzel (Rep) for trustee.
Hope: Mark S. Feldpausch (Rep) and Mark Brandli (Rep) are running for supervisor , Deborah Jackson for clerk, Arlene Tonkin for treasurer, Matthew T. Peake, Kenneth Chandler, Alice Hunt and David Messelink, (all Republicans), for trustee.
Irving: Jamie R. Knight is running for supervisor, Nichole Donker (Rep) and Shelly Lake (Rep) for clerk, Lynnette Ann Wingeier, treasurer, Michael Buehler, Dean Bass, Larry Brummel Jr., Mike Wright (all Republican) for trustee.
Johnstown: Barbara J. Earl is running for supervisor, Sheri M. Babcock for clerk, Karmen K. Nickerson for treasurer, Deana Powell, (Rep) Jeffrey T, Warren, (Rep) Roy W. Thunder,(Rep) Robert Dirmeyer, Jr., Blake Griffin (Dem) and Twilla Gibbons (Dem) for trustee.
Maple Grove: Jeff Butler is running for supervisor, Susie Butler for clerk, Ginger Cole for treasurer, Larry Hook, Steve Gauss, Doug Westendorp, (all Republicans) for trustee.
Orangeville: Thomas J. Rook is running for supervisor, Janet Browneye (Rep) and Melody Risner (Rep) for clerk, Michelle Ritchie for treasurer, Robert Perino (Rep), Heather Foreman-Colthurst (Dem), Linda Ribble (Rep), Jodi L. Patrick (Rep) and Karmin Bourdo (Dem) for trustee.
Prairieville: Jim Stoneburner (Rep) and Chris Khoury (Rep) are running for supervisor, Ted DeVries for clerk, Judy Pence for treasurer, Richard Van Niman for trustee. Deb Young, Kevin Louden, John H. Hoek, Scott Kuebler for Parks and Recreation Board.
Rutland: Gerald Schmiedicke (Rep), Larry Watson (Rep), and Curt Cybulski (Indep) are running for supervisor, Robin Hawthorne for clerk, Sandra Greenfield for treasurer, Sandra L. James (Rep) Marlin Walters (Rep), Michael Hallifax, (no party given) and Brenda Bellmore (Rep) for trustee.
Thornapple: Michael T. Bremer is running for supervisor, Cindy Willshire for clerk, Debra K. Buckowing for treasurer, Ross DeMaagd, Jake Jelsema, Andrew Lindemulder, Curt Campbell and Sandra L. Rairigh (all Republicans) for trustee.
Woodland: Jeffrey S. MacKenzie is running for supervisor, Nancy Stanton for clerk, Shawn Durkee for treasurer.
Yankee Spring: Paul Heystek (Rep) and Mark Englerth (Rep) are running for supervisor, Janice Lippert (Rep) and Thomas Wallace (Rep), for clerk, Alice M. Jansma for treasurer, Roger Rottschafer, Jacob M. Welch, Shannon Vandenberg, Patrick Jansens (all Republicans) for trustee. Sandra A. Marcukaitis for constable.
The deadline to turn in paperwork to get on the Aug. 2 primary election ballot has passed, however, the unofficial ballot likely will change.
Those who change their mind have two days to withdraw, and township clerks have until Monday, April 25 to get all of their candidates names to the Barry County Clerk.
In many cases the primary election determines who will win a seat. If two Republicans face off, and there is no Democratic opposition, the winner is assured of election in November.
What follows is the primary ballot so far for Barry County Commission, elected officials, the City of Hastings and Middleville.
Updates will be added when the ballot is finalized.
District 1: Howard R. Gibson, Jerry Sarver
District 2: Dan Parker, Nick Wake
District 3: David Jackson
District 4: Jon Smelker
District 5: Ben Geiger, Mark Noteboom, Bob Vanderboegh (all Republicans)
District 6: Vivian Lee Conner
District 7: Heather Lynn Wing
Sheriff: Dar Leaf, Robert Jordan
Register of Deeds: Barbara D. Hurless
County Clerk: Pam Palmer, Craig Stolsonburg
Prosecutor: Julie Nakfoor-Pratt
Drain Commissioner: Russ Yarger, Mark Doster, Jim Dull
Treasurer: Susan Vandecar
City of Hastings:
Mayor: David J. Tossava
1st Ward: Therese Maupin-Moore
2nd Ward: John Resseguie, (Rep) William Westerveld (Rep)
3rd Ward: Donald Bowers
4th Ward: Willard Redman
Board of Review: Tom Wilt, Donald Tubbs, Melissa Winick
Village of Middleville:
Charles Pullen is running for president, Sherry Lynn Ronning for trustee.
Township millage requests:
Barry Township asks for renewal of 2 mills for fire protection for 2016 through 2019 which would raise $230,000 the first year.
And, also 2 mills for police protection for 2016 through 2019 which would raise $230,000 the first year.
Hope Township asks for renewal of 1 mill for fire protection and cemetery maintenance (.75 mill for fire and .25 mill for cemetery) from 2016 through 2019, which would raise $124,622.29 the first year. And, also, renewal of 1 mill for road repair, maintenance and operating expenses, which would raise $124,622.29 the first year.
Barry County wide millage: Charlton Park asks for new additional millage for operation and maintenance of Historic Charlton Park Village, Museum and Recreation Area of 0.3750 mills, which would raise $767,476 the first year, $755,298 which would be disbursed to Charlton Park.
Eaton County Sheriff's deputies were called to a vehicle/pedestrian crash near the 300 block of M-99 in Eaton Rapids Township about 10:30 p.m. April 19.
A 62-year-old male pedestrian from Eaton Rapids Township died of his injuries after being struck in the roadway by a vehicle driven by a 42-year-old Eaton Rapids man driving northbound on M 99.
The pedestrian died at the scene; the driver of the vehicle was not injured.
The north bound lane of M 99 was closed for approximately four hours.
Speed or alcohol are not indicated as factors in the crash. Notification of next of kin has not been made. The incident remains under investigation.
The Barry County Board of Commissioner's committee of the whole addressed routine business Aapril 19, recommending approval of several items in a short meeting, including:
* a request to keep Van Buren County as the fiduciary agent for any 2015 Homeland Security grants that Barry County Emergency Management receives.
Barry County will receive a baseline grant of $6,394.50 for conferences, exercises, drills and training; the 5th District Rescue Team has been approved to receive $60,000 for equipment.
Emergency Management Director Jim Yarger said it is a large task, "but Van Buren County has the staff to do the work and they were willing to step up."
The commission also recommended approval of:
* a contract with CBIZ Retirement Plan Services for $11,000 to complete the December 31, 2014 actuarial valuation of Other Post Employment Benefits (health and life insurance) for Barry County.
"The requested report as of Dec. 31 2014, will give us the information that is needed for completion of the 2016 and 2017 Barry County audited financial statements, Administrator Michael Brown said. "...we believe their relationship with MERS and experience completing our previous OPEB report will provide the most cost effective and efficient means of completing the required report," he said.
The funding will come from the contingency fund and is the same amount paid for the Dec. 31, 2012 valuation. The valuations are required every two years; this is the fifth report by the county.
* the Barry County 2016 equalization value as presented by Equalization Director Timothy Vandermark.
Total equalized values for all classes of real and personal property in Barry County is $2,654,855,670, up 3.18 percent over all from last year, Vandermark said.
* a request from David Shinavier to transfer vehicles to the IT and planning departments and sell the replaced vehicles, a trailer and another car that has been replaced, by sealed bids.
A 2008 Dodge Charger with 99,746 miles on the odometer is set to go to Planning Commission and a 2007 Dodge Charger with 105,836 miles, to the IT department. To be sold are a 2004 Ford Taurus (146,249 miles), a 2001 Ford F-150 (53,000 miles), a 2002 Ford Taurus, (91,550 miles) and a trailer with a 5 foot by 10 foot bed with rear hinged loading ramp, single axle, fenders and side rails.
The vehicles for sale will be advertised for two weeks and can be seen at the Barry County Sheriff's Office.
A right-of-way easement agreement between the Thornapple Trail Association and Nashville VFW Post 8260 will fill a gap in the trail between Maple Valley High School and Fuller Street Elementary School going through Nashville, if the Barry County Board of Commissioners approve the unanimous recommendation made April 19 by its committee of the whole.
Rick Moore, chairman of the Barry County Parks & Recreation Committee's trail committee and co-founder of the Thornapple Trail, said he has tried to be "pleasantly stubborn" since he began working on the easement 22 years ago.
They lost a court case on the matter 23 years ago, and Moore credited new members of the trail association with being willing to spend money obtain the easement. The Trail Association agreed to pay $5,000 and VFW members have agreed to the request.
With the easement in place, the trail will be continuous, hooking it to a mile and half segment on one end and a three mile segment on the other end.
Moore said they "can finally seek grants for the trail when it is continuous."
The option will be for 30 years, with an option for another 30 years, for another $5,000.
Commissioner Ben Geiger thanked Moore for his perseverance, saying the agreement will mean a lot to Nashville area residents.
The Gilmore Car Museum celebrates its golden anniversary with an all-new event to honor its founder: "The Donald Gilmore Classic."
The pre-WWII car show and swap meet will be Saturday, May 21, with a driving tour Friday, May 20.
A special event dedicated to all pre-WWII vehicles from 1896 - 1942, it representing both the first fifty years of the automobile as well as cars that established the Gilmore Car Museum.
The non-profit's very first event, held in the spring of 1966, was a "Brass & Gas" car show, named for the pre-1916 autos that had brass head lamps, bulb horns and windshield frames, rather than the chrome of today.
"The Museum hosts more than a dozen car shows each year," Michael Spezia, executive director explains, "and this one honors the legacy of museum founders Donald and Genevieve Gilmore."
Spectator admission to the show is $12 per person and includes visiting the entire Gilmore Car Museum campus and all exhibits at no extra charge. Those under 11 are free. //
With encouragement from his wife, Donald Gilmore became a reluctant antique car hobbyist in 1963 when he acquired just two old cars.
Within three years, he had obtained 57 vehicles, ranging from the pioneering 1903 Columbia Electric to a 1929 Duesenberg, the auto of the ultra-wealthy.
Those types of cars are featured at the event, as well as rarely seen high-wheeled motor buggies, true horseless carriages, and one-cylinder autos like the 1903 Curved Dash Oldsmobile, and the classic luxury cars of the 1930s, Cadillac, Lincoln and Packard.
Gilmore not only opened his unique collection to the public in 1966, he and his wife shared their passion with the community-and world-by gifting it to a non-profit foundation to secure it for generations to come.
Today, Gilmore's Car Museum, North America's largest auto museum, is home to seven independent auto museums and displays over 400 vehicles in two dozen historic structures on a 90-acre park-like campus.
Demonstrations at the event will showcase the crank starting of the popular Model T Ford "Tin Lizzy," lighting a fire under a steam-powered Stanley, and revealing the mammoth 522 cubic inch engine of a 1909 Thomas Flyer-something one would expect to find only in the high-performance muscle cars of the 1960s.
The Museum anticipates the one-day event to be the largest public gathering of pre-WWII vehicles, passenger automobiles, commercial vehicles and trucks and motorcycles in the region.
In addition to the more well-known brands of Buick, Chevrolet, and Dodge Brothers, many of the cars expected to attend carry names long lost to history, including Desoto, Hudson, Kissel, Nash, Overland, Packard, Pierce, Reo, Studebaker, and Winton.
The show will include a swap meet area for car parts, tools, vintage attire, and antiques.
Those who enter a vehicle built between 1896 and 1942 into the show (sorry, no hot rods, customs or modified vehicles will be included) are eligible for a limited edition of awards unique to the show and are invited to take part in a free driving tour on Friday prior to the event.
Registration information is available online at GilmoreCarMuseum.org. Gilmore's is located 20 minutes northeast of Kalamazoo on M-43 at 6865 Hickory Road.
Photo: Donald and Genevieve Gilmore drive their 1908 Stanley Steamer, circa 1965.
(photo courtesy of Gilmore Car Museum)
In January, Spectrum Health Pennock shared results of a plan to adopt an integrated care campus model with centralized hubs of health care with multiple services in one location.
As part of the transition to that model, the Spectrum Health Pennock Nashville and Clarksville family medicine offices will be relocating.
Patient medical records will be available at the new offices electronically, making the transition easy and convenient as patients begin their care at one of the new locations.
Monday, May 9, Frederick Bean, MD and patients from Nashville Family Medicine will become part of Spectrum Health Pennock Family, Internal & Pediatric Medicine at 1108 West State Street, Suite 3, in Hastings.
Part of the integrated care campus model, it offers laboratory, radiology and urgent care services in one convenient location.
Bean will join the team of Scott Brasseur, MD, Belen Amat, MD and Tiffany Jackson, NP. The last day of appointments at the Nashville location will be Thursday, May 6.
Bean will begin seeing patients in the Hastings office on Monday, May 9.
Monday, June 27, Donald Gingerich, DO and Christina Reisinger, NP, will become part of Spectrum Health Pennock Family Medicine in Ionia.
Their office will be in the newly constructed Spectrum Health Integrated Care Campus - Ionia located next the Meijer store at 2776 South State Road.
Gingerich and Reisinger’s patients will have access to onsite laboratory, radiology and ultrasound services with the transition to the new Ionia location. The Family Medicine – Ionia team will welcome Rich Mason, MD, in August, enabling the office to care for more families in the community. //
Spectrum Health Pennock remains dedicated to continuing partnerships in the Nashville and Clarksville communities, including work with area schools, law enforcement and emergency personnel as well as providing community education.
By relocating these offices, Spectrum Health Pennock can better serve the community and offer expanded services for our patients while remaining good stewards of our resources.
Patients of the Nashville and Clarksville offices are asked to contact these offices prior to the moves if they have questions.
Eaton County Sheriff Tom Reich, a 28-year veteran of law enforcement, announced he is running for a second term as sheriff.
“I’m proud of what we have achieved as a department during our first term, but there’s plenty more to be done,” Reich said. “At the top of my list is continuing our successful crime reduction through strategic patrol efforts, further development of evidence-based policing strategies, and ensuring the best training and technology are available to our deputies as we strive to make our communities the safest in our state.”
In the first three years of Reich’s leadership, statistics from 2013-2015 show a 12 percent reduction in violent/assaultive crimes, a 35 percent reduction in burglaries, 17 percent reduction in larcenies, and 35 percent reduction in malicious destruction of property when compared to 2010-2012. Reich credits the reductions to the hard work and dedication of the department’s professional deputies and command officers.
“My goal is to work every day to make sure Eaton County has a highly-trained effective team of deputies prepared to keep the public safe in any and every situation,” he said.
Reich holds an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Lansing Community College, certifications from U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Secret Service, Michigan State Police, the National Sheriffs Institute and is a graduate of the F.B.I. Executive Leadership Academy.
Reich and his wife Brenda reside in Eaton Rapids Township.
Streamside Ecological Service, contracted by the Little Thornapple River Intercounty Drain Board to develop a remediation plan for the Little Thornapple Drain, has submitted a new plan to the DEQ.
Luis Saldivia, supervisor of the Water Resources Division of the DEQ in Grand Rapids, said the plan outlines repair of what property owners along the drain and trout stream called excessive clearing of trees that caused erosion along the river banks and left parts of the 14 mile long inter-county drain looking like a war zone.
The DEQ staff is doing field work on the plan to determine if they will approve the plans, or suggest improvements to Streamside, Saldivia said
“It’s slow, but we’re making progress,” Saldivia said. “When you have a miles long project like this one, it's complicated.”
He said he expects more information on the outcome of the field work within the next four to six weeks.
When the DEQ agrees to the plan, with revisions done if needed, it will go to the Intercounty Drain Board for its approval and the restoration will move forward.
His office is getting input from the DNR Fisheries Division on the plans, especially when it comes to fish habitat, Saldivia said.
The first remediation plan developed by Aaron Snell, co-founder of Streamside Ecological Service, was submitted to the DEQ and revised to its recommendations.
However, on the advice of its attorney, Stacy Hissong from Fahey, Schultz, Burzych and Rhodes, the Intercounty Drain Board did not approve the second draft in February.
At that meeting, Hissong also advised Snell to develop a new restoration plan to submit to the DEQ for approval.
The Intercounty Drain Board consists of commissioners from three counties, Russ Yarger from Barry, William Byl, from Kent and Robert Rose, Ionia County.
An investigation of possible embezzlement by an Oneida Township official has resulted in a ten count arrest warrant against township Clerk Trevor M. Robinson, 40.
Detectives from the Eaton County Sheriff’s Office began an investigated in January after being notified by Oneida Township officials of a possible embezzlement.
The investigation revealed that Robinson had cashed unauthorized checks written to himself and used his township credit card for purchases not related to official township business.
On April 13, a ten count arrest warrant for Robinson was obtained and, with the help of DeWitt Township police, he was arrested.
The warrant charges:
*one felony count of embezzlement by a public official over $50,
*four felony counts of uttering and publishing, and
*five felony counts of financial transaction device, stealing or retaining without consent.
Robinson was arraigned April 14 by Judge Harvey Hoffman and bond set at $200,000.
The Barry County Animal Shelter is one of 20 animal shelters in the state taking part in “Empty the Shelter Day” on Saturday, May 7.
If you have been thinking about adopting a pet into your family, here’s your chance to get a forever friend free, or if it’s a dog, the $7 cost for a license.
On that one Saturday, the Bissell Pet Foundation will pick up the cost of adopting a cat or dog from the Barry County Animal Shelter located at the end of Industrial Drive in Hastings. Hours there will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Shelter Director Billie Jo Hartwell said they are also offering adoptable cats and dogs at a second location, the Thomas Jefferson Hall at 328 South Jefferson Street in Hastings. Hours there will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
All of the cats and dogs are spayed or neutered, had rabies shots, are current on vaccines and are, “ready to go,” Hartwell said.
To make it even easier, those planning to adopt can go to the website Barry County.org, click on the Animal Shelter site and fill out a “pre-application” to bring with them to either the shelter or the hall, Hartwell said.
All of the adoptions have be finalized that day to qualify for the program, so no fostering will be done.
Barry County Commissioners on April 12 unanimously approved an ORV ordinance that allows ORV riding on many county roads, a first for Barry County.
It goes into effect Sunday, May 1.
"I'm excited for the implementation of the ORV ordinance for the residents of Barry County. It will be a tremendous recreational benefit," said the main sponsor of the ordinance, Commissioner David Jackson.
"I hope ORV riders will be overly safety conscious with the implementation on May 1. Barry County residents will get used to seeing ORVs on the roadways, but I can't emphasize enough caution in the early going.
"County residents have done a fine job with bicycles, joggers, horses and mopeds and I'm sure ORVs will be no exception, but a little common sense on where you ride your ORV will go a long way toward the safety of all Barry County residents," he said.
"My recommendation would be stay on the gravel roads where ORVs are best suited, and avoid roads that are known for fast paced traffic and limited sight distance," Jackson said.
The ordinance, patterned after an Ionia ordinance and tailored for Barry County, has several things that riders need to know, including where they can ride with a properly outfitted ORV.
A current ORV sticker, crash helmet and protective eye wear are required, not optional as with motorcycles. ORVs are required to have a mounted side view mirror to see traffic approaching from behind.
The county website has an online map of where ORVs can ride in Barry County and a list of roads where it is permitted, however the map can and will change as townships and the Barry County Road Commission weigh in on roads that may be excluded for safety reasons.
It is the rider's responsibility to check the map and be aware of the roads that are closed to ORV traffic.
For example, the Barry State Game Area and Yankee Springs State Recreation area are closed to ORVs.
Although some of the primary county roads through the game area are currently open, ORVs will be ticketed $250 to $500 maximum for riding off the primary roads onto the back trails through the state game area.
The game area and the Paul Henry Trail are zero tolerance areas. If riders go on the closed roads, they can expect to get a ticket. ORVs are also not allowed to operate in any city or village in the county.
The complete ORV ordinance is posted on the county website, www.barrycounty.org. Click on the Data Center tab.
April 13, 2016
Laura Ortiz was named director of the Hastings Public Library effective April 1. It was a natural progression and a dream of hers.
The minute she walked into the Hastings Public Library years ago, “I knew this was the place I wanted to spend my time…when I was growing up, the library was my safe haven, it was only natural that it should eventually be my home,” she said.
A substitute teacher in the Hastings Area School System, Ortiz started volunteering at the library when it was across from the Barry County Courthouse.
She was first hired part time, then full time and when Director Evelyn Holzwarth retired, was named interim director.
“Evelyn knew that was my goal and she worked with me for 18 months before she retired. It was wonderful,” she said.
Ortiz gives much of the credit for the smooth operation of the library to the staff. “We have a great staff, they’re very supportive.”
The community is also strongly supports the facility, she said. When matching funds for a grant were needed, the community quickly responded with the match needed. Ortiz and the library staff are always looking for new events and programs to involve the community.
The mother of two, a son, 19, and a daughter, 23, Ortiz is looking forward to a long directorship in the library; the place that she was meant to be.
“I am so blessed to be living and working in a wonderful community that shows their support each and every day,” she said.
Middleville is planning a celebration of the official opening of its Community Pavilion on Wednesday, April 27 at 11 a.m.
The public is invited to meet at the new gathering place across from the Village Hall on Main Street to mark the occasion.
Middleville’s newest attraction was funded by Middleville taxpayers, the Middleville Lions Club, Thornapple Trail Association, the Local Development Financing Authority, the Downtown Development Authority and a grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Because child abuse and neglect ranks as one of the greatest risks to the health and well-being of Barry County children, the Hastings City Council proclaimed April Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Mayor Frank Campbell, with Karen Jousma and Julie Nakfoor-Pratt of the Family Support Center of Barry County, read the official proclamation Monday.
"In Barry County in 2014, 203 children between the ages of 0-17 were confirmed victims of child abuse and neglect by Children's Protective Services," he said.
Child abuse and neglect may be the result of various social problems such as inadequate parenting skills, family violence, poverty, family dysfunction, mental health problems, homelessness and crime.
The Family Support Center of Barry County has been designated by Michigan's Children's Trust Fund to lead alongside local community based programs to assist in expediting efforts to prevent child abuse now and in future generations through joint interagency prevention efforts, he said.
The most precious and valuable asset of our county is our children, and we must dedicate ourselves, our energy and our resources to the nurturing and protection of these most vulnerable individuals--protecting children and strengthening Barry County families is a shared community responsibility, he said.
"Community action is needed to help families break the cycle of abuse with small or simple gestures-just by reaching out and showing you care about children in your family and neighborhood demonstrates that we value our children. I urge all citizens to work together to help reduce child abuse and neglect significantly in years to come," Campbell said.
"I truly appreciate this and the recognition by the council, because it is truly serious in our county when it comes to childhood abuse and neglect, Jousma said.
"But, we as a committee are also providing serious efforts to overcome the abuse and neglect to children."
"In April we also recognize national crime victims rights," Nakfoor-Pratt said.
Safe Harbor, the children's advocacy center, addresses issues about children after they report child abuse or neglect, so it dovetails with the Family Support Center's work, she said.
"April seems to be quite a recognition for these vulnerable citizens, so thank you."
After a dust-up between Councilwoman Brenda McNabb-Stange and Mayor Frank Campbell about plans for veteran's monument in Tyden Park, (see related story) there was no disagreement about dredging four ponds in Fish Hatchery Park, which City Manager Jeff Mansfield said, "are a mess."
After years of trying, the city has secured permits from the DEQ to do the dredging. The ponds have water depths between six and 18 inches and four feet of sludge and sedimentation on the bottoms.
Removal of the sludge will increase the depth of the water, improve water clarity, reduce vegetative growth, and reduce odors at the ponds, Hays said.
The sedimentation will be spread out for drying south of the softball field and then graded and seeded.
The DPS crew will do the work and "hope to have it completed before the parks begin seeing heavy use," Hays said.
The council approved renting an excavator from Hertz with a 60 foot arm for the dredging $8,683 for four weeks to do the work.
The estimated $25,000 cost will be paid from the Park and Recreation Capital Improvement fund.
The berms in the park, originally part of landscaping when the city took ownership of the fish hatchery and developed it into a park, will likely be removed.
Council members will look at options for the trees in the area before any decisions are made on the berms and trees. //
In other public works items, the council approved spending $17,372.98 to low bidder Communication Specialists for narrow band radios so DPS employees can talk to each other while in their trucks and equipment.
Hays also reported since George Holzworth's level B license expired, he is no longer the licensed operator at the water and wastewater plants.
Casey Rose from Mead and Hunt is the interim superintendent and Matt Lumbert the licensed operator at the water plant.
Mead and Hunt hope to have a replacement operator in Hastings within the next eight weeks, Hays said.
Also, a total of 22 light poles were removed along State Street because of deterioration of the bases.
Crews relocated a number of the remaining poles to an every other foundation configuration.
That left a number of concrete foundations with bolts and the cables exposed, so fiberglass covers will be installed over the coming weeks to give the foundations a more finished look.
The cost of ongoing maintenance of the downtown Hastings parking lots is paid through a special assessment district covering downtown businesses that benefit from having the spaces for their customers.
Included in the calculations for maintenance are the cost for labor, supplies, administrative services, training, utilities, and equipment rental for a total of $35,618.
City Manager Jeff Mansfield said the Hastings Downtown Development Authority is expected to pay the cost in excess of what was assessed in 2008, keeping the assessed amount the same as that year at $26,540.
The DDA has paid the difference for several years.
The council set an April 25 public hearing to determine the need for the special assessment; they are then expected to set a public hearing for May 23 on the certified assessment roll.
"The council may confirm the roll, annul the roll, confirm the roll with amendments or refer the roll back to the assessor for revision," Mansfield said in a memo to the council.
If confirmed, the assessments will be added to the summer tax bills.//
In other business April 11, the council:
*approved a request from Regina Thompson to put up a temporary tent next to the pavilion she rented at Fish Hatchery Park for an Open House.
*approved holding the fifth Gus Macker basketball tournament on June 24-25. Organizer Jacquie McLean said the number of teams playing has increased every year, and they are working to attract 200 teams this year.
*approved Flexfab holding its ninth annual 5K run/walk on Sept. 17.
*approved Cassandra Radig-Maddens request to plant an Autumn Blaze Maple tree at Fish Hatchery Park in memory of William "Billy" Madden, Jr
Lee Hays, director of Hastings Department of Public Services Monday gave an overview of improvements planned for Tyden Park to the Hastings City Council.
A new gathering area is being proposed around the existing Civil War soldier's monument at the entrance to the park. A 40 foot by 40 foot area is planned with stamped concrete.
The project is expected to cost $15,000 with funding from the Park and Recreation Capital Improvements fund.
Hays said the work will be contracted out, and when completed, the veteran's monuments now on the Barry County Courthouse lawn will be moved to the new gathering area.
Hays is working with the Lawrence J. Bauer American Legion Post members on the project, and will come back to the council with a formal request for the addition.
Councilwoman Brenda McNabb-Stange drew the ire of Mayor Frank Campbell when she objected to the idea of a memorial as being a "surprise" without it being "openly talked about" and with "no proper process" to bring it to the council.
When Campbell said her use of the word "sneaking" the project in was "so far from the truth," McNabb-Stange agreed it was a poor choice of words on her part and apologized.
Campbell said he and others started work on the Tyden Park plan in 2010 when an idea to move the monument to the courthouse lawn was quashed.
They started the planning, but with the death of Mayor Bob May, the idea went dormant.
Campbell reminded McNabb-Stange that he talked about the memorial during his State of the City address. He asked the council to work to get the memorial in place before the end of this year when he will retire from public office.
"(Hastings) is the only city in the county, and it does not have a dedicated veteran's memorial...It's something we should have done 30 years ago. It's the obligation of Hastings to do this.
"They served their country, they deserve our respect. I want to see it done before I leave office and I hope I have 100 percent support from this council."
“Coffee with the Sheriff” number 18 will be Wednesday, April 13 at Panera, 5601 Gull Road, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. The public is invited to the open discussion with Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller at the event.