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Local News Archives for 2017-11

Barry County Central Dispatch Director Fuller Leaving

Barry County Central Dispatch Director Phyllis Fuller has accepted a position with Peninsula Fiber Network as their Next Generation 9-1-1 Program Coordinator. In announcing her leaving, Fuller said,

"I have the opportunity to help other 9-1-1 center's across the state do what we have been so lucky to do here in Barry County."  Fuller went on to say, "I have enjoyed 24 years at Barry County Central Dispatch and am happy that I will not be leaving this community as I will be working from home and traveling quite a bit."

 

"The Interim Director will be Stephanie Lehman, an extraordinarily talented woman who has worked here for almost ten years", Fuller said.

Phyllis Fullers' last day is Friday, January 5, 2018.

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Gun Lake Tribe has shared $100 million with state and locals

The Gun Lake Tribe has announced the details of its fall revenue sharing payments. 

The State of Michigan received $4,731,126, the local revenue sharing board received $2,117,954 and GLIMI, an economic development entity, received $1,419,338.  The figures are calculated from electronic gaming revenues reported from April 1, 2017 to September 30, 2017.    

 

“This is a very special distribution because of the significant increase in revenues due to the expansion, and because we have surpassed the $100 million milestone,” said Scott Sprague, chairman of the Gun Lake Tribe. “The tribe’s reinvestment of $76 million into the casino expansion has paid off for tribal citizens, our team members and the community.”

 

The tribe celebrated the milestone revenue sharing payment Thursday at the Gun Lake Casino, when the Tribal Council was joined by members of the Local Revenue Sharing Board, including Wayland Township Supervisor Roger VanVolkinburg.  Allegan County Sheriff Frank Baker joined the group to highlight the tribe’s separate donation to help purchase two K-9s.

 

The fall 2017 revenue sharing payment is 24 percent greater than the spring payment, and 19 percent more than the fall 2016 payment.  This is the first payment to follow the May 3, 2017 opening of the casino expansion which doubled the size of the facility to increase electronic gaming machines by over 30 percent in number.  The expansion opened one month into this six-month revenue sharing distribution period.

 

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Equipment stolen from DNR maintenance building in Ionia County

The Ionia County Sheriff’s Office is reporting the Sessions Lake Campground and State Park DNR maintenance building was broken into and several items were stolen between Nov. 25-27.

 

Items stolen from the building include several chainsaws, backpack-style leaf blowers, a John Deere riding mower, and a John Deere 60” Z-Track mower and a 6 x 12 utility trailer.

Investigators determined someone broke into the building by prying open a service door at the rear of the building.

 

The sheriff’s office is seeking information leading to the recovery of this stolen property and the arrest of the perpetrators involved. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the sheriff’s office Detective Bureau at 616-527-5737, or Silent Observer at 616-527-0107.

 

 

 

 

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Delton Marching Band ready to embark on the trip of a lifetime

When the Delton Schools Marching Band was invited to travel to Hawaii to perform in a parade commemorating Pearl Harbor Day, the community responded to help them get there.

 

“We started this journey last January after we received an invitation to perform in the 76th annual Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade,” band Director Sara Knight said. 

“The band families, students, and I have learned a lot about getting donors, fund-raisers, and we have been overwhelmed by the community support,” she said. “Students have grown more comfortable speaking to others about this opportunity, and they have worked in many different settings to help raise money. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I hope that they will become volunteers in their communities as adults after watching so many here give so much of their time and resources,” she said, “and, I hope students will gain a much deeper appreciation for those that serve in our armed forces, and a better understanding of what happened at Pearl Harbor.”

 

The history of December 7, 1941, the day Japan attacked a sleeping Pearl Harbor and brought America into World War II, will come alive for the students, some of whose great-grandfathers likely served during the war which ended four years later in June, 1945.

 

Carl Schoessel was Interim Superintendent in January. He also thinks the trip will let the students learn some of the history of  D-Day and Pearl Harbor. Schoessel believes good things happen when people work together, and he said they did.

Students, parents, individuals, businesses and organizations, everyone, worked on raising funds for the trip, “and the planning committee pulled it all together. Everybody had to do their share and the community went above and beyond anyone’s expectations. The community was magnificent," he said. He credited Knight for her hard work to make the trip a reality.

 

Fundraisers included individual and business donations, a quilt raffle, fruit sales, a YAK sponsored breakfast, a live auction, a go-fund me page, a Delton Moose Build a (hot) Dog Day, Tupperware sales, Delton VFW Post 422 fish fry and a Hickory Corners American Legion Post 484 spaghetti dinner.

 

The trip is booked through Bennett Travel in Hastings, with a flight straight through from Chicago to Honolulu. “We travel from December 4-9, and we will have three performances while we are there, one with the U.S. Marine Band,” Knight said. Each student needed $2,475 for the trip, but thanks to the fundraising and donations, most paid about $600 out of pocket. Forty one of the 46 band members are traveling.

 

The bands schedule:

December 4: Travel day, arrive in Waikiki.
December 5: Performance at USS Missouri and visit the Pearl Harbor Memorial.
December 6: Island tour, Polynesian Culture Center.
December 7: Beach time followed by Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade and performance with the U.S. Marine Band. The parade will step off at 6 p.m. Hawaii time, and proceed through the heart of Waikiki down the famous Kalahua Avenue.

 

Some of the events that will commemorate the  75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor are the Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade and Public Ceremony,  USS Oklahoma Memorial ceremony, Freedom Bell Ringing and the National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Commemoration.

The Pearl Harbor Visitors Bureau offers numerous tours for visitors to explore the Islands historic places, monuments and memorials. The Delton band was chosen to participate in the parade by the Pearl Harbor Memorial Association.

 

Photo: The Delton Marching Band at the Veterans Day program on Nov. 10.

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Two from Barry County will graduate from MSP Recruit School

During a special ceremony Today Thursday, 127 graduating recruits will be sworn in as Michigan State Police Troopers. Two of those recruits come from Barry County.  Taylor Klotz who's father is a recently retired Detective Sgt. Terry Klotz from Hastings and Alan Mater from Nashville. Both Taylor Klotz and Alan Mater have been assigned to the Lansing Post.

 

The 127  Recruits started their training this past June that lasted 26 weeks at the MSP Training Acadamy in Lansing.  When reporting to their assigned post each new trooper will work with a trooper supervisor for several months to complete their formal training.

The Keynote speaker is Governor Rick Snyder.

 

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Staff switch at City of Hastings being considered

Jerry Czarnecki and Dan King both joined the City of Hastings about a year ago; Czarnecki as Community Development director, King as Clerk/Treasurer. Now, there’s a possibility that they may switch roles.

 

“During that time they have had the opportunity to become much better acquainted with the roles and duties of the various appointed positions here at the city, and we have had the opportunity to learn more about their professional skills and areas of expertise, and simply what they enjoy doing,” City Manager Jeff Mansfield said.

 

Czarnecki and King are currently working together in a number of areas, looking at possible staff assignment changes in January. “They actually introduced the thought some months back that an exchange of staff assignments might actually result in a better ‘fit’ here at the city for both of them, and be beneficial for the city as well,” he said.

 

Mansfield said they are open to the idea. The two sharing a variety of duties, working closely together to “cross-train” and learning more about each other’s positions has already proved very beneficial for the city, he said.

 

“If ultimately we do all agree that they should exchange roles, it would be done at the time of the staff appointments at the first meeting in January.”  

 

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Fire destroys Irving township home

The Hastings Fire Department, along with Freeport and Thornapple township fire departments, were  called to a structure fire shortly before noon Tuesday at 5275 Engle Road in Irving township. Upon arrival they found a single level home and attached garage, owned by Donald and Merle Sears, fully involved in flames.  There were no injuries. The structure and contents were a total loss.  

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Barry County agrees to second new hanger at city/county airport

The Barry County Board of Commissioners Tuesday approved the construction of another hanger at the Hastings City Barry County Airport. Since the city and county have a Joint Operating Agreement on airport operations, the okay by commissioners means the project can go ahead after Hastings City Council approval Monday night.

 

The city and county just approved one new hanger for $200,600 to be built by the Stedfast Company; the second hanger was proposed by Airport Manager Mark Noteboom when an anonymous donor agreed to fund a second hanger for another commercial customer who requested one.

 

Stedfast will construct the second hanger at the same time as the first and at the same $200,600 cost. The funding will be a “pass through” in the airport’s budget, reflected as income and expense.//

 

In other business Tuesday, commissioners approved several recommendations of the committee of the whole, including:

Re-appointments of Cindy Vujea to Central Dispatch administration board for four years; Bob Vanderboegh to the Building Authority for three years; Sarah Nelson and Duane Weeks to the Solid Waste Oversight Committee for three years; Mike P. Timmons to the Veteran’s Committee for four years; and Christine Hiar, David H. Tripp, Amy Graham and Frank Williams to the Community Corrections Advisory Board for three year terms.

 

The Barry County Road Commission’s audit engagement agreement with Walker, Fluke and Sheldon to perform its annual audit was also approved.

 

 

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Hastings New Year's Eve Ball Drop back for ninth year

Most Barry County communities are planning events for the holiday season. A big part of Hastings celebrations, the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop in the downtown, will be back with unanimous approval of the Hastings City Council.

 

Speaking for the event’s organizers, Carl Schoessel said this year’s event will again have a fun run, a big tent at the corner of Jefferson and State Street, vendors with displays and sales, WBCH’s Dave McIntyre as emcee/ DJ from 9 p.m. to midnight, and illuminations as the ball drops at midnight on Dec. 31 to bring in 2018.

 

A banner across State Street will announce the events ninth year. A wedding and the swearing-in of David Tossava as mayor of Hastings have happened at previous ball drops, Schoessel said, and there may be something special this year. The event attracts around 1,000 people, with last year the third highest crowd in its history. It is sponsored by the Downtown Development Authority with support from the Barry County Chamber of Commerce.//

 

Also on Monday, the council approved the construction of another hanger at the Hastings City Barry County Airport. Both the city and county recently approved one new hanger; however, Airport Manager Mark Noteboom said an anonymous donor has offered to fund a second hanger for another commercial customer who has requested a hanger.

 

The Stedfast Company, contracted to build the first hanger for $200,600, has agreed to construct the second for the same price. City Manager Jeff Mansfield said the transaction will be a “pass through,” with $200,600 as income and $200,600 as an expense. “This is a unique situation. It doesn’t happen often,” he said.

The Barry County Board of Commissioners also has to approve the addition.

 

 

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Hastings will host Barry Roubaix Killer Gravel Road Race in 2018

The Barry Roubaix bike race will be back in Hastings next year. The date is April 21, 2018, and a 100-mile race has been added for the extra hearty bicyclist for the race’s 10th anniversary.

 

The Hastings City Council Monday unanimously approved the request of Scott TenCate of Trail Blazer Events (formerly Kisscross Events). TenCate said Hastings is a great host for the race, and they enjoy working with residents, city staff and the Department of Public Works.

 

City Manager Jeff Mansfield, who has competed in the race, said he looks forward to working with TenCate, his partner Rick Plite, and many others on the race, however, he has absolutely no plans to try the 100-mile course.  

 

Also, there is a possibility that Hammond Hill Disc Golf Course may be the site of the World Championship Professional Disc Golf Association in 2019. Jacob Stahl asked the council’s permission to use the site and is preparing a proposal he hopes will attract the event to West Michigan. The council gave its permission for Stahl to try, with the understanding that many logistics would have to be worked out if the site is selected. A decision will be made early in December.

 

Mayor Dave Tossava read an official City of Hastings Resolution recognizing retiring Hastings Public Library Director Laura Ortiz for her long service to the library, dating back to 2007 when she began as a volunteer. Ortiz started the Christmas time Arts &Craft’s program and other programs, and worked on many committees and fundraisers. “Her positive attitude at the library and community will be missed,” Tossava said.

“I’ve said my goodbye’s” Ortiz said, “but I want to thank each council member for your service.  It’s because of you, I’ve enjoyed my job.”

 

In other business, the council corrected an oversight by approving the signing of an MDOT Surface Transportation Grant contract that will fund upgrading some city streets. They adopted it in November, but it did not get signed. Before adjourning,they went into closed session to discuss pending legal matters .

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Pedestrain Hit by a Vehicle

A pedestrain was hit by a vehicle in Hastings Saturday night and taken to the hospital.

The accident occured around  6:00-pm near Johnny's Shell Service on East Green street and South Jefferson street.

No word on the extent of the injuries.

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Vehicle Hits Utility Pole

Late Sunday afternoon a vehicle went out of control on south hanover street in Hastings an slammed into a  Consumers Energy Utility pole. The impact damaged the transformer and knocked out electric service to 152 of their customers until a new transformer was installed. No word on whether the driver was injured.

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Updatee: Barry Township woman dies when motorcycle strikes tree

Barry Township police, Delton and Hickory Corners fire depatments and Life Care Ambulance were dispatched to the scene of a fatal motorcycle crash in the 11,000 block of Gurd Road in Barry Township this friday morning.

Police Chief Mark Doster said a 62-year-old woman was riding a motorcycle on private property when she lost control and struck a tree, sustaining massive head injuries that caused her death.

 

 

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Barry County Commissioners hear update on Gun Lake Dam reconstruction

The status of the Gun Lake Dam reconstruction project was discussed with Barry County Commissioners Tuesday, with Drain Commissioner Jim Dull and Attorney Doug Kelly giving the update.

 

A public hearing on the special assessment roll is set for Dec. 7 at 11 a.m. at the Yankee Springs Township Hall, Kelly said. The calculated cost of the project, including engineering and contingency, is expected to be $270,000 to $275,000, he said.

 

The dam is owned by Barry County, and the lake has parcels in Barry and Allegan counties. Kelly said they would be in Allegan County on Dec. 14, seeking the required approval of the special assessments and calculated costs, and back to Barry County Commissioners on Dec.19 for their approval.

 

Dull expects approvals for the project by the end of the year and construction by National Construction from Nashville to begin, hopefully in January.

 

The present lake level and special assessment district were approved in July in Barry County Circuit Court. The dam, starting to collapse in summer of 2015, was saved through emergency measures taken by then Drain Commissioner Russ Yarger and Barry County Emergency Management.

 

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New Barry County interview policy goes into effect, will require communication

A new policy of appointing incumbent board members who apply for another term on a county board or committee without re-interviewing if there are no other applicants, was followed Tuesday at the Barry County Commission’s committee of the whole meeting.

 

Commissioners Howard “Hoot” Gibson and Vivian Conner said they had concerns. Commissioner and Chair Ben Geiger said if any commissioner has questions about any applicant, he would schedule an interview, conceding the new policy would require some communication.

When Gibson said without interviews, they wouldn’t know if the applicant was still effective, Commissioner Heather Wing pointed out that a county commissioner sits on all boards and would know about it.

 

Commissioner Vivian Conner argued incumbents, “still need to come in,” adding if they found problems, they could “interview until they found a good fit.” Commissioner Dan Parker said he didn’t think few other commissioners felt that way.  No other commissioners commented on the issue.

 

The committee recommended the full board:

* re-appoint Cynthia Vujea to the Central Dispatch Administrative Board for a four year term. Former Commissioner Joyce Snow withdrew her application because of a conflict in meeting times with another board she has agreed to serve. Douglas Abraham also applied. Interviews were scheduled because there were other applicants, the rest were by appointment.

* re-appoint Robert Vanderboegh to the Building Authority Board for a three year term;

* re-appoint Sarah Nelson, general public and Duane Weeks, Village of Middleville, to the Solid Waste Oversight Committee for three year terms.

* re-appoint Mike Timmons to the Veterans Affairs Committee to a four year term, and;

* re-appoint Christine Hiar, service area; David Tripp, criminal defense attorney; Amy Graham, Workforce Development Board and Frank Williams, citizen at large, to the Community Corrections Authority Board for three year terms.

* approve Walker, Fluke and Sheldon to complete the 2017 Barry County Road Commission annual audit for $9,100. The road commission’s agreement with the firm conducting its audit must be confirmed by the county commission every year.

 

 

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54 Years Ago

It was 54 years ago on November 22, 1963 that President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed in Dalles, Texas .  The President and the Governor of Texas John Conneley were riding in a motorcade. when Harvey Oswald  shot both the President and the Governor from the second story of the Texas Book Depositary.

President Kennedy died a short time later at Parkland Hospital. The Governor later recovered from the wounds.

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DNR to auction off 80 parcels of state land

The Michigan Department of Natural  Resources is set to auction 80 parcels of land located in lower Michigan including parcels in Barry County and parcels in 18 other counties.

Properties range from less than an acre to 146 acres.

Several of the parcels are forested and riverside or lake frontage.

The sealed-bid auction will take place between December 12th and January 10, 2018.

Complete auction information can be found at www.michigan.gov/landforsale

For general information about the sale of surplus, state-managed public land, contact Michael Michalek at 517-284-5950.

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Operation Care

As motorist prepare to hit the highways for the Thanksgiving holiday, the Michigan State Police is preparing for the annual Operation Care Awareness and Reduction traffic safety iniative November 22-26.

 

Troopers across the state point out that Thanksgiving is the second deadliest holiday in Michigan for traffic crashes.

"we urge you to make safety a priority this Thanksgiving weekend and always,"  said Colonel Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the Michigan State Police.

Motorist are also encouraged to take extra precaution when driving in snowy and icy conditions and to place an emergency preparedness kit in their vehicle.

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Hastings Community Thanksgiving

Hastings Green Street United Methodist Church will serve their annual Thanksgiving Dinner Thursday, Nov. 23rd  from 1:00p.m. to 3:00p.m.  Reservations are appreciated 269-945-9574.

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Hastings Fresh Food Initiative Location change for Nov. 22nd

The Hastings Fresh Food Initiative at the Green Street United Methodist Church will be moved to the Church of the Nazarene, located at 1716 N. Broadway in Hastings on Wednesday, November 22nd., do to an event at the Methodist Church.  On Wednesday, November 29th the Hastings Fresh Food Initiative will be back at the Hastings Green Street United Methodist Church.

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Hastings County Club, Now the Legacy

Since 1921 the local Hastings golf course has been known as the Hastings County Club. Since the new owners purchased the local course from the former owner PGA Professional Lynn Janson and taking  over on November 1st, a number of changes including the name have taken place with more to come.

 

As of Saturday November18th  the new sign "The Legacy"  displayed at the course entrance on north broadway welcomes  golfers to come and enjoy this unique golf course.

 

Saturday night the owners held an open house where they had the opportunity  to meet the members and their guests  and  talked about some of the new changes that will take place over the new several months.

And  Lynn Janson the former owner will remain at the Legacy to provide lessons for golfers of all ages.

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Selling old pipes brings questions from Hastings City Councilwoman

A request by Public Service Director Lee Hays to sell old pipe for salvage to Etna Supply for $26,000 was questioned by Councilwoman Brenda McNabb-Stange at the Nov. 13 Hastings City Council meeting.

 

Hays said the pipe and fittings have been stored outside for 25-30 years and are no longer usable.

”How much did you waste?” McNabb-Stange asked. She asked how much the pipe cost when purchased and was told between $150,000 and $160,000.  “So you spent $160,000, and you’re going to sell it for $26,000 and then go buy more?” she said.

 

City Manager Jeff Mansfield said the pipe had been accumulating over the past 35 to 40 years, maybe longer, when the city kept much larger amounts of stock on hand than they do now. “Some pipe is four inch, that’s not even used in construction any more.” The interiors of the fittings have deteriorated making them worthless and not salvageable, though ductile iron is. “We just made a decision to move on,” he said.

 

In other business, the council approved:

 

*a contract with the Macker organization to bring the 3-on-3 basketball tournament to Hastings for the next three years. They plan to change the date to mid-July to avoid a larger tournament. Avoiding the date of the larger event will bring another 25 to 30 teams to Hastings, said Travis Alden, president of the Barry County Chamber of Commerce.

 

*a CX and fat bike event named Cabin Fever at Fish Hatchery Park Dec. 30 requested by Kisscross Events. The activities will be confined to the park and sponsors will restore the area after the event.

 

*a contract with Stedfast for $200,000 to build a corporate-sized hanger at the Hastings City Barry County Airport. Director Mark Noteboom said three customers are waiting for a larger hanger, adding this is the third year the airport has been self sustaining and the building will bring in more income. 

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TOST talks for changes heading in the right direction, Barry Commissioner says

A Barry Eaton District Health Department regulation that mandates inspection of on-site water and sewer systems and that they be repaired if they are deemed failing before a property can be sold or transferred in Barry and Eaton counties is being reviewed for changes by BEDHD officials and the Health Board, made up of three Barry and three Eaton county commissioners.

 

The Barry County Board of Commissioners earlier agreed they want the controversial rule made voluntary and take away the $350 fee to file a complaint, among other changes.

 

Tuesday, the three Barry Commissioners, Ben Geiger, David Jackson and Dan Parker, gave an update on a workshop held this week. The three agreed progress was being made. Geiger said they are, “moving in the right direction…the overall goal is to let residents buy and sell property without going through hoops.”

 

“We found common ground,” Jackson said. Parker said that both sides gave their positions and the health department has already made a concession. “They gave us a good base to work from,” he said.

 

Overall, the commissioners are “optimistic” although they say they know they have work to do.

Commissioner Heather Wing and Vivian Conner stressed the commissioners should keep pushing for repeal or a voluntary program.

 

“We have your back, as long as it’s productive,” Commissioner Jon Smelker said.

Citizen Larry Bass said he was not quite so optimistic. “We thought it would be voluntary, a regulation is not voluntary.” He added an Eaton County Commissioner he talked to was unaware that there was a workshop.

 

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Volunteer drivers, staff needed at Hope Network Transportation

Barry County Hope Network needs volunteer drivers, office staff.

 

Because of normal volunteer turnover, there is a need for three to five drivers and two or three office helpers.

 

If the positions are not filled, hours and number of staff will have to be reduced in early December.

 

To volunteer, or for more information, call the local Hope Network Office at 269-331-6007 or stop in at 109 North Church Street, downtown below Miller Realty between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

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Stolen handgun and marijuana seized, crack cocaine dealer busted

On November 14, 2017, at approximately 6:30 p.m., the Southwest Enforcement Team-East Team along with officers from the Kalamazoo Township Police Department where conducting a counter drug operation in the area of East Main Street and Fennimore Street in Kalamazoo Township.

 

Detectives from the Southwest Enforcement Team observed a suspicious vehicle and alerted Kalamazoo Township Police Officers, who conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle. During the traffic stop, Kalamazoo Township Police Officers located a stolen handgun in the passenger’s waist band and a large amount of marijuana in the car.  Two of the three male subjects had felony warrants and were lodged on outstanding warrants, as well as weapon and drug charges.

 

The Southwest Enforcement Team is a multijurisdictional task force comprised of sworn law enforcement personnel from the Michigan State Police, Barry County Sheriff’s Office, Berrien County Sheriff’s Office, Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office, Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office, Covert Police Department, Kalamazoo Township Police Department, and the South Haven Police Department.

 

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In a separate case, members of the Southwest Enforcement Team (SWET), with the assistance of the Berrien County Sheriff Road Patrol, conducted an arrest operation in Benton Harbor on Monday.

 

Demetrius Lashawn Jefferson, 24 years of age, was arrested following a month-long investigation into the distribution of crack cocaine.  The Southwest Enforcement Team and Berrien County Sheriff Department have received numerous complaints and information about drug sales in the 900 block of Buss Ave in Benton Harbor.  SWET Detectives began an investigation that determined Jefferson was a suspect who was selling crack cocaine in the area.  Jefferson was arrested on two counts of delivery of crack cocaine and resisting arrest. 

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Hastings Dog revised dog ordinance to be finalized by Jan 1

Some thirty plus people attended the Hastings City Council meeting Monday, most of them supporters of pit bull dogs. They were asking why a revision of chapter 14 on vicious animals in the city ordinance deleting any reference to pit bulls as “dangerous dogs” had not been approved two years after the first draft was completed. The group’s spokeswoman, Tammy Berdecia gave the council a packet with information about pit bulls and other municipality’s dog ordinances.

 

Mayor David Tossava said when they revisited the revised draft ordinance in response to an earlier request, they found it still needed changes dealing with insurance and enforcement and it would take a little more time for Police Chief Jeff Pratt and City Manager Jeff Mansfield and Attorney Stephanie Fekkes to add the language.

 

Councilman Bill Redman made a motion that the draft be completed and returned to the council for approval by Jan. 1. He put the time limit in the motion because of the two year lapse last time, he said. Berdecia and others said pit bulls are friendly, tolerant dogs that show less threat of biting than other breeds.

 

“There are good and bad statistics; don’t single out our dogs; they are our family,” Berdecia said.

The council was given information from several sources that supported pit bulls and noted that Hastings is the only community in the immediate area that has “breed specific language” in its ordinance that names pit bulls as dangerous.

 

No one in the audience responded when asked if there was anyone to speak against pit bulls, however Councilwoman Brenda McNabb-Stange said they were dangerous because of the way they “grasp and don’t let go…that happens a lot in the home. I still have a problem with that.” Councilman Don Bowers said a pit bull killed his small dog, and 46 percent of calls of dog bites were from pit bulls. “There is another side,” he said.

 

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**Barry County Oct. CROP Hunger Walk results

On Sunday, Oct. 8th, thirteen churches in Barry County partnered with Church World Service and raised $12,233.90.  Ninety two adults, youth and children gathered at Grace Lutheran Church in Hastings to walk for helping to assist families who have needs both locally and globally.  Twenty five percent of the money collected will be divided equally to five food programs in Barry County and Church World Service will use the remainder to aid families dealing with diasters in the U.S. and around the world. The five local programs; Barry County Cares, Community Food Pantry at Middleville United Methodist Church, Good Food for Freeport, Maple Valley Community Center for Hope and the Hastings Food Pantry, each will receive a little over $600 to help families with food.

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Yankee Springs Township trustee, Zoning Administrator resign in protest

Months of wrangling by members of the Yankee Springs Township Board has resulted in the resignations of Trustee Roger Rottschafer and Zoning Administrator Larry Knowles, effective immediately.

A notice on the township website notes a special meeting has been called for Nov. 13 at  6 p.m. at the township hall.

Rottschafer, who retired about 18 months ago, said his company, Marygrove Industries, asked him to come back to work for them, and the bad feelings between him and Supervisor Mark Englerth, “helped me make the decision to come out of retirement.”

Relations with Englerth and Trustee Shanon VandenBerg, have been a “dogfight” for months, with accusations of obstructing board efforts to do township business and Englerth’s attitude causing dissention.

An issue mentioned by both Rottschafer and Knowles was  about Vandenberg’s refusal to stop discussing his housing development in the township while a trustee on the board that makes decisions that would likely financially benefit him.

 

Rottschafer said Englerth’s abrasive style led to efforts to keep him away from the fire station and get him removed from the Gun Lake Sewer and Water Authority.

He said the biggest thing for him was the unprofessionalism and lack of credibility of both men that was making the township a laughingstock.

 

He didn’t know what will happen to the township after the resignations. “People in the audience have asked Englerth to resign; he wouldn’t do it…recall is a possibility…something has to happen to get him out of there.”

 

"They (Englerth and VandenBerg) are not acting professionally, Knowles said. There’s the conflict of interest thing going on. It’s clearly wrong how they’re doing it and the supervisor allows it.

“Every meeting is worse than the last one… they don’t treat people fairly, and the meetings get out of control."

 

“I’m still here for the community…I’ll go to planning meetings and help how I can, but I can’t work with them anymore.” Knowles will stay on as director of GLSWA.

“I do enjoy working with the people there. We have some top notch people to help. We’ve had a few minor problems, but we worked them out.”

 

Asked for a statement, Englerth said: “I’m not slinging mud. It’s unfortunate, but we have to move forward in the best interest of the community in a positive manner.” VandenBerg could not be reached for comment.

 

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Barry County Sheriff's Office offers security/safety programs to area churches

The Barry County Sheriff’s Office provides a certified security and safety program to churches to help church leaders develop an organized plan for any emergency and to secure buildings and grounds.

 “We’re offering to develop overall plans for church security and get their security teams started at no cost to them,” Sheriff Dar Leaf said.

 

The preventive program began before the recent mass killings, including one at a Texas church.

“We’ve been involved with church security since April 1999; we did Thornapple Valley Church right after Columbine,” Leaf said.

 

Based partly on a plan developed by the Michigan State Police, plans are tailored to cover specific areas of different kinds of buildings. How long it takes depends on what the church wants, if it’s basic security, active shooter training or something else.

 

“We’ll even look at how they handle money; it’s not advisable to have the same people make bank deposits at the same time, on the same route on a regular schedule.” Some insurance companies will give churches discounts in premiums if they have the program, he said.

The security/safety programs have been completed in churches in Barry, Kent, Eaton and Allegan counties.

Interested church officials are urged to call the sheriff’s office with their contact information and the department will follow through.

 

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Consider becoming a school crossing guard in Hastings

Do you live in Hastings? Need something to do a couple hours a day to stay active? Retired and looking for something to earn a little extra money? Love kids? Want to do something for them and the community?

This may be for you.

 

The Hastings City Police Department is looking for full and part-time school crossing guards for one hour in the morning and one in the afternoon at cross walks to keep kids safe when crossing streets on their way to and from school.

 

“There really aren’t that many kids that walk to school, but there are enough so they need help getting across the street,” Deputy Chief Dale Boulter said. “You get to know your corner, you get to know the kids and the kids look forward to seeing their guard every day. When one of us fills in for a regular, the kids always ask where they are.”

 

Ideally, a candidate lives nearby “their" corner. Guards can be a man or woman, grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle, anyone with a sincere interest. There is no upper age limit, but a guard has to be at least 18, Boulter said. It’s usually not a full hour on a corner, he added. Pay is every two weeks and is about $180 before taxes.

 

Those interested can call for more information or stop at the police department at Hastings City Hall and pick up an application. New guards watch a video and get basic instructions that take about an hour that includes time for questions.

Hastings Police are responsible for providing guards at Broadway and Green, Clinton and Broadway, Hanover and Grand and Michigan and Grant.

 

 

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Suspicious calls no threat to schools: Eaton County Sheriff's Office

The Eaton County Sheriff's Office assisted Grand Ledge and Bellevue police Thursday after two local businesses received suspicious calls that were perceived as threats against schools, according to a sheriff’s news release.

“It was quickly discovered the calls came from outside of Eaton County, and that there was absolutely no danger to any of our local schools or students,” a sheriff's representative said.

 

Several schools initiated a “shelter in place” as a precaution for a short time.  A “shelter in place” is simply a heightened level of security to the exterior of the building, while classroom instruction continues.  No schools went into “lockdown,” where all activities stop within the school, the release said.

 

“Any calls of this nature are taken very seriously, and the sheriff’s office commends the pro-active approach to safety that our local schools take,” the official said.

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Multiple DUI offender sentenced to 40-60 months in prison

Alan Kent Prichard was sentenced by Barry County Circuit Court Judge Amy McDowell to 40 to 60 months in prison on Monday for drunk driving.

Originally, because of problems with the case, Prichard was allowed to pleaded guilty to felony OWI, third or subsequent offense, and would spend time in jail, instead of going to prison, Barry County Prosecutor Julie Nakfoor-Pratt said.

 

When he pleaded guilty, McDowell warned Prichard  that he had to follow her pre-sentence order to go into inpatient treatment or his agreement would be null and void, Nakfoor-Pratt said.

 

Prichard went into inpatient treatment, but then walked away. “After we found out he did not follow her orders, we asked her to sentence him to prison. Judge McDowell was willing to give him a chance; she warned him, and when he didn’t follow her order, she sentenced him to the maximum for that charge. We’re pleased and appreciate that she did what she said she would,” Nakfoor-Pratt said.

 

Prichard has a total of 12 OWI convictions over several years,in four counties; Berrien, Allegan, Van Buren and now Barry.

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Culvert replaced keeping drive from being washed away, now who pays the bill?

A routine budget amendment to the Barry County budget Tuesday brought an explanation and a question on a $8,641.01 item charge in the Emergency Management department. Administrator Michael Brown said after a significant amount of rain recently, Barry County Emergency Management coordinator Jim Yarger got a call from a resident of Charlton Drive, reporting  a culvert was washing out underneath a private drive at Pleasant Shore in Castleton Township.

 

“It couldn’t wait over the weekend,” Yarger said. “It would be gone by Saturday afternoon, or deteriorated so far that we couldn’t safety pass vehicles over it."  Some 50 to 60 people would have been stranded and without access by fire trucks or ambulances, if they were needed, he said.

 

“I could have pulled the trigger, or walked away,” Yarger said. “It was a Friday afternoon, we had an hour or two to get an emergency soil erosion permit, to make up our minds…everyone agreed to do what we did…it was a safety issue.”

 

He called the Barry County Road Commission to come out to replace the culvert, which they did.

The question is who will pay the bill for the road commission’s work?

Brown said he has contacted the drain commissioner, who said it is private property, not in a drain so they aren’t responsible. No township or group of residents have petitioned for a special assessment district to pick up the tab. The road commission said it’s not in its right of way, so they are not responsible.

 

So, it stays in the Emergency Management column.

Yarger said the tab for repairs was minor compared to the costs of evacuating, sheltering and legal costs for the  50 to 60 people who would have been impacted.  

 

So far,  no one seems ready to pay the bill. “If nothing changes, it will come out of the general fund,” Brown said. “That’s taxpayers paying for a private drive,” said Commissioner Jon Smelker. “Do that, and you’ll be paying for everyone’s private drive.”

“Notify the home owner that they have to pay up,” Commissioner Dan Parker suggested.

“It’s a unique situation.” Brown said. “It was the right thing to do.”

 

 

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Barry County Road Commission "remains ahead of the curve" County Road Association says

An article in the Fall 2017 edition of “Crossroads,” the quarterly journal of the County Road Association of Michigan, recognizes the accomplishments of the Barry County Road Commission.

 

More than a million dollars has been saved in the past two decades by the Barry County Road Commission (BCRC) thanks to innovation and creative operational systems. BCRC emphasizes the importance of planning for the future, good business practices and constant innovation, the article said.

 

“We make it a priority to safeguard our internal operations. And identifying these ‘curves’ or trends is just the beginning,” Manager/Director of the BCRC Brad Lamberg  said in the article.

 

Lamberg credits forward-looking thinking by the road commissioners and staff over the last two decades in the areas of health care, unfunded liabilities and longer-lasting road preservation on a reduced budget.

Addressing health care costs, the BCRC replaced defined benefit with defined contribution in the late 1990s, allowing health care accounts to grow and keep health care contributions flat for seven years, saving over $1.5 million.

 

Innovations on the road have helped the BCRC stretch its dollars. Wedging is a process used to strengthen the outer half of lanes using a thin layer of asphalt. Combined with a chip-seal surface the technique has proved a sustainable practice for road repair. Today all BCRC asphalt surfaces, including full overlays and multi-lift all season roads, are topped with a chip seal layer as the county has proven it is best to extend pavement life, the article said.

 

In a 2014 evaluation, 79 percent of Barry County residents gave BCRC a, “positive job rating, a rate rarely obtained by tax-funded agencies,” the County Road Association reported.

 

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BEDHD explains Health Insurance Marketplace open enrollment

Open enrollment for health insurance on the Marketplace runs Nov. 1- Dec. 15.

Consumers have until Dec. 15 to renew their coverage or enroll in a plan in order for their coverage to begin on Jan. 1, 2018, according to a Barry Eaton District Health Department news release.

 

There are five ways to apply:

1. Online at https://www.healthcare.gov/. If you are new to HealthCare.gov you will need to create an account. If you already have an account, just log in.

2. By phone. Call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596. You can ask a question, start or finish an application, have a customer service representative help you with an application, review your choices, and enroll in coverage.

3. In person with help from a Certified Application Counselor or Navigator. Assisters in your community with special Marketplace training can help you fill out an application and enroll.

Visit https://www.healthcare.gov and search by your city or ZIP code to see a list of local people and organizations who can help you apply, pick a plan, and enroll.

4. Through an agent or a broker, who will help you apply and enroll. (You pay no more with an agent or broker; however, some may sell only certain companies plans.)

5. By mail. Fill out and mail in a paper application. You’ll get eligibility results in the mail within 2 weeks. Create an online account or use the Marketplace Call Center to enroll. Download a paper application and instructions at https://www.healthcare.gov.

 

The Barry-Eaton District Health Department (BEDHD) has Certified Application Counselors available who can help you fill out an application and enroll. If you would like in-person assistance, call (269) 945-9516 (Barry) or (517) 543-2430 (Eaton) to make an appointment.

 

BEDHD would also like to remind residents about the following:

· Anyone who already has coverage through the Healthy Michigan Plan, Medicaid, or MIChild must renew at least every year; they can look for information in the mail from the Michigan Department of Human Services about renewal.

· Anyone with coverage through the Marketplace can keep their plan or shop for a new one.

· Renewal must take place between Nov. 1 and Dec. 15, so it’s important to not delay.

· Anyone lacking health insurance must get covered.

· Those who are uninsured should review options, check to see how much financial help is available, and choose the coverage that meets their needs and fits their budget.

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Voters turn down Barry County COA building, Hastings schools millages

In a county-wide vote, a Barry County Commission on Aging proposal for a new $5.4 million building was defeated 3,910 to 3,629.

 

Hastings Area School System voters rejected two millage requests:

 

Proposal 1, asking $10.5 million for technology and to improve the middle school, lost by 2,212 to 1,642.

 

Proposal 2, for $19.5 million for buses and improvements in technology, athletic stadium and transportation was also rejected, 2,296 to 1,496.

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Election Results City of Hastings

In the City of Hastings 1241 voters  turned out to vote on the Hastings Area school district bond proposals and the bond issue for the commission on ageing.

Hastings schools proposal one  746 yes   486 no. On proposal two 769 yes  468 no.

These figures do not include the entire Hastings school district only the city of Hastings.

On the county wide proposal for the commission on ageing in hastings 769 yes  464 no.

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Barry County Commission sets policy on interviewing applicants for committees, commissions

The Barry County Board of Commissioners discussed Tuesday when to interview applicants and when to waive them for those who sit on county boards and commissions. The commission decided if there are more applicants than positions, or if one person is applying for one position, but is not an incumbent, they should interview.

 

Otherwise, they will waive interviewing incumbents who reapply for their same positions.

One example, Commissioner and Chair Ben Geiger said, is the Commission on Aging board,  which has four openings and three incumbents re-applying.

 

Discussion brought up the issue of the size of some boards and possible changes in bylaws of some; that will be left up to individual boards, with final approval by the commission. Several ideas on how to attract more candidates will be set in motion.

Geiger proposed developing a flyer, a promotional, informational piece, to pass out to those thinking about applying for a committee with things one should know about serving to, “help commissioners make decisions for government.”

 

Commissioner David Jackson suggested using the county website to put broader descriptions and more details on different boards and their functions. Commissioner Howard Gibson advocated putting more information with the advertisement in the newspaper besides just the name of the position. 

 

The board will provide training for new members that will include their duties, policies on harassment and what they can and can not say on social media, among other things, “to make sure they’re same page,” Commissioner Heather Wing said.

 

 

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Charlton Park to seek requests for proposals to re-roof several park buildings

Barry County Commission’s committee of the whole Tuesday recommended approval of Charlton Park releasing requests for proposals for replacement of the roofs on the Carlton Center Church, Upjohn House/office, Upjohn Carriage House, and Main Street complex; the general store, hardware store and print shop.

 

Charlton Park does not have the funds for the upgrade, and commissioners agreed the buildings were owned by the county and they have the responsibility to pay for the repairs. Park Director Dan Patton said the information will better inform the commission of the size, scope and financial need for replacing the roofs. He said they had help from a local contractor in developing the specs for the projects, which he expects to last 50 years.

 

Commissioner Jon Smelker requested to see all of the bids, both single and block bids for all of the roofs, rather than waiting for the park board to select one and then send it to the commission.

 

Also to do with the park, commission recommended approval of amendments to Section 5 of the park’s bylaws that reduces the number of “citizens at large” positions on the park board from 10 to six, reducing the number of members from 13 to nine, and also to change the number needed for a quorum from seven to five members. The park board has already approved the amendments. Patton said they have vacancies on the board and with some not applying to serve again, they will not need to remove any members.

 

In other business the commissioners recommended approval of:

* the $200,500 bid for the construction of a hanger for jet/turbine aircraft at the Hastings City/Barry County Airport from Stedfast Construction. Funding will come from the airport’s find balance. Stedfast was the only bidder for the project.

 

Airport Director Mark Noteboom said four parties were interested in leasing a hanger, but they are all full. The lease would be for three years. The airport board has approved the contract, it also must be approved by the Hastings City Council and Barry County Commission.

 

* re-appointing Chelsey Foster to serve a three-year term on the Health and Human Services Board. He was the only applicant.

 

* the application to the Agriculture Farmland and Open Space Preservation Program (PA 116) for Geerlings Hillside Farms in Section 5 of Carlton Township.

 

* the application to the Agriculture Farmland and Open Space Preservation Program (PA 116) for Brook View Dairy LLC in Section 11 of Carlton Township.

 

 

 

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Tuesday, Nov. 7 is election day. Remember to vote

Today is election day and Barry County voters will decide on a new facility for the Barry County Commission on Aging.

 

Hastings Area School System voters will decide two millage requests for the schools.

Hastings citizens vote at the Hastings Baptist Church at 309 East Woodlawn Avenue.

 

All the polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

 

Your vote will count.

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Spectrum Health's MedNow good example of emerging technology in medicine

Technological advances in medicine include more electronic devices that will reach almost any location and perform functions once impossible to do. More people are using advanced technology and becoming comfortable with it. In the field of health, MedNow from Spectrum Health is an good example of telemedicine. There are two pieces to MedNow, e-Visits and Video Visits, Spectrum Health’s Stacee English said.

 

E-visits are done through a secure online messaging exchange with a medical provider who gives medical advice through a My Health account after completing a questionnaire describing your symptoms. E-visits are not for emergencies, urgent conditions or questions needing an immediate response.  An e-visit will never cost more than $25, English said.

 

A Video Visit provides direct, real time visits to a Grand Rapids-based Spectrum specialist for low acuity conditions. Idone through a webcam and smart phone, I-Pod, or computer, anywhere there is a strong internet connection, and requires an e-mail address, she said.

 

Using special computer equipment, a doctor can take vital signs and other tests with a patient and show the results to a specialist in Grand Rapids with sharp images that can be enlarged and sound that can be turned up.

 

Online primary care with a doctor 24/7 includes allergies, bites and stings, colds, cough and flu, heartburn, nausea/vomiting pink eye, rash and hives sinus problems, sprains and strains, fever and headache and more. A report of a MedNow visit is sent to the person’s primary care physician as part of their medical history and for physician follow up if necessary. The service is never more than $45.

 

There is no difference in quality of care using the technology, and tracking the use of antibiotics shows physicians prescribe less when using technology than during face to face visits, English said.

“Eighty percent are comfortable with the technology,” she added.

 

For more information and a complete lists of problems cared for by e-Visit or Video Visit, go to mednow.specturmhealth.org. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan and Priority Health offer coverage of e-Visit and Video Visits.

The telemedicine service is for any Michigan resident over the age of three.

 

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Barry Eaton District Health Department approves new laserfiche system

The Barry Eaton District Health Department is getting a new electronic filing software system that is less expensive and is expected to be more stable and easier to work with. The laserfiche system from General Code CMS will replace the Filer system, the department’s current management system that organizes paper files into electronic form.

 

The Health Board approved the purchase of the software program for $21,575. Health Officer Colette Scrimger said with a difference in support costs, $10,000 a year to Filer and $3,825 to General Code, the department will recoup $17,000 of the cost in two and a half years.

The current program is “at least 10 years old, balky, and a troublesome company to work with,” she said.  

 

Health Board member and Eaton County Commissioner Blake Mulder said Eaton County uses the laserfiche system, saying, “They like it, they say it’s efficient and easy to use.”

The BEDHD’s  IT department will produce the conversion requirements and the transfer of data, Scrimger said. “It shouldn’t require much staff time, and we hope to complete the transfer over Christmas break.” 

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Roadside drug testing pilot program begins in five counties

In an effort to combat the dangers of drugged driving, five Michigan counties, Berrien, Delta, Kent, St. Clair and Washtenaw, will take part in a one-year roadside drug testing pilot program, established by the Michigan State Police.

 

The Preliminary Oral Fluid Analysis program, beginning Nov. 8,  will establish policies for administration of roadside drug testing to see if an individual is operating a vehicle under the influence of a controlled substance in violation of Michigan law,  according to an MSP news release.

 

Over the last several years, Michigan has seen a steady increase in fatal crashes involving drivers impaired by drugs.  In 2016, there were 236 drug-involved traffic fatalities, up from 179 drug-involved traffic fatalities in 2015.

 

“Motorists under the influence of drugs pose a risk to themselves and others on the road,” said Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the MSP.

“With drugged driving on the rise, law enforcement officers need an effective tool to assist in making these determinations during a traffic stop.”

The pilot counties were chosen based on the number of impaired driving crashes, impaired drivers arrested and trained Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) in the county.//

 

DREs are police officers who have received highly specified training that allows them to identify drivers impaired by drugs. Although the pilot program is being organized and managed by the Michigan State Police, DRE officers employed by county, township and municipal police agencies will also be involved.

 

A DRE officer may require a person to submit to a preliminary oral fluid analysis to detect the presence of a controlled substance if they suspect the driver is impaired by drugs.

 

The analysis of oral fluid, obtained by a mouth swab, will be given along with the drug recognition 12-step evaluation currently used by officers. Refusal to submit to a preliminary analysis is a civil infraction.

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Public invited to give input on Agricultural Management Practices

The public has the opportunity to give its input on the 2018 drafts of Generally Accepted Agricultural and Management Practices (GAAMP).

 

The Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development set a public meeting for 9 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29, in the J. Edward Hutchinson Conference Room at Constitution Hall, 525 West Allegan Street in Lansing, and a review period that is open until Nov. 29.

 

Public comment will be taken on practices that have proposed changes: Manure Management and Utilization, Care of Farm Animals, and Site Selection and Odor Control for New and Expanding Livestock Facilities.

 

For a copy of the GAAMPs, including the proposed revisions, visit www.michigan.gov/righttofarm, or contact MDARD’s Environmental Stewardship Division at 517-284-5619 or toll-free at 877-632-1783.

Submit written comments to the Environmental Stewardship Division, P.O. Box 30017, Lansing, MI 48909, postmarked no later than Nov. 29, or by e-mail to: TurrubiatesO@michigan.gov by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29. //

 

The comments will be forwarded to the respective Task Force Committee chairpersons for consideration before final review and adoption. There are no proposed changes to practices regarding Nutrient Utilization, Cranberry Production, Farm Markets, Irrigation Water Use and Pesticide Utilization and Pest Control in 2018.

 

The best practices are reviewed annually by committees of various experts, revised and updated as necessary, and reviewed and approved by the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development each year.

 

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Boil water advisory for Freeport lifted

Freeport Fire Chief Jim Yarger has announced that the boil water advisory for the Village of Freeport has been lifted effective immediately. The latest tests affirm the water is clean and safe for drinking and all other uses.  A  mishap Oct. 27 allowed river water into the watet system through a fire hydrant.

 

The Barry Eaton District Health Department ordered the advisory and immediately began flushing the system and continued flushing and testing the water until two completed two tests showing the water system clean of any bacteria before lifting the boil water advisory.

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Bike lanes, school millage topics at Coffee with the Chief

Hastings Police Chief Jeff Pratt quipped he might rename his periodic meetings with residents from “Coffee with the Chief” to “Coffee with the Chief and Friends.” Department of Public Services Director Lee Hays, DPS garage Superintendent Jim James, Deputy Chief Dale Boulter and Community Development Director Jerry Czarnecki all gave updates on activities in their departments at the Wednesday meeting.

 

The two main interests of residents were recent bike lane striping in the city and Hastings School millage issues. Bike lane discussion centered on responsibility of both motorists and bikers to each be aware of the other and the need for both to obey rules of the road. The first bike lanes were striped this year and all are to be installed over three years, Hays said.

 

The next striping will be in July 2018. Hastings City Councilman John Resseguie said the striping on West State Road brought several complaints, which died down after the lanes started being used and residents found that it slowed traffic in the area.

“With a few bumps along the way, I think it went pretty smoothly,” Pratt said. The city will put out more advanced notice of future striping of the lanes next year so the public will be aware of the change coming, he added. There is more information on the bike lanes on the city’s website.

 

After Hastings Area School System Superintendent Carrie Duits gave an explanation of the two millage proposals on the Nov. 7 ballot, she was asked two questions. Why was so much money directed to athletics and would the school come back in a few years and ask for more millage?

To asking for more millage, Duits said they would not. “This is it. This will complete our projects,” she said.

When a $55 millage proposal failed in May, 2015, officials cut about $12 million in projects off the list for the second request for millage of $44.5 million, which passed in November, 2015.

With the passage of the smaller package, they said they would come back later to replace the projects with another millage vote, and several other things, including school buildings roofs needing repairs, came up in the meantime, she said.

 

On athletics, Duits said upgrades were needed on the deteriorating track and tennis courts and several other areas, but boards in the bleachers on both sides of the football field are breaking when walked on, making the bleachers and safety the number one concern.

 

Also, Pratt gave an overview of the police department, saying there are 15 full-time officers, two office staff, a code compliance officer and a parking enforcement officer. Add to that, 10 volunteer reserve officers who act as second officers with the officers, seven Police Ambassadors, and 10 Police Cadets from Hastings High School. “All together, that makes 44 people associated with the department,” he said.

 

 

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A few dates Hastings residents should know

Fall and winter bump into each other for Hastings residents this week, with leaves still falling and snow in the forecast. Here are a few dates to keep in mind:

 

Daylight savings time ends Sunday Nov. 5, remember to turn clocks back one hour Saturday night.

 

Leaf pickup will begin Monday, Nov. 6, starting in the second ward on the east side of South Hanover. Public Services Director Lee Hays said daily notices of where the crews are and will be the next day will be on the WBCH and city websites.

 

The annual winter season parking ban for snow removal on city streets between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. started Nov 1, with officers giving out 90 “courtesy” tickets, which will soon turn into citations that carry a five dollar fine. Police Chief Jeff Pratt said the 90 reminder tickets is about normal for the first day of the ban.

 

Looking forward to next summer, Aug. 18 is the date of the second Night Out, which features the county’s emergency services personnel. Hastings Deputy Chief Dale Boulter said he will enlist help from the Michigan State Police, Barry County Sheriff’s Office, county fire departments, and ambulance services in planning for next year, which will start in January.

The first Night Out last year was “a great success,” and he anticipates another well-attended community event next year.

 

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Victim who died in Ionia County traffic crash identified

UPDATE: The Ionia County Sheriff’s Office has positively identified the victim in the fatal accident as Shardella Shana White-Smith of Kentwood. The crash remains under investigation. 

 

ORIGINAL STORY:Ionia County Sheriff’s deputies and Lowell and Saranac fire departments responded to a three-car accident on M-21 near Whites Bridge Road in Boston Township Wednesday morning at 10:14 a.m.

Ionia County Central Dispatch advised deputies that three vehicles were involved and that two of them had hit head on.

 

Deputies arrived six minutes later to find one of the vehicles fully involved in flames and the second vehicle entwined with that vehicle, also burning.  Both vehicles were occupied.

 

With the help of a civilian volunteer firefighter, the deputy was able to combat the flames and extract the driver of the second vehicle, identified as Christopher Shawn McKibben, 42, from Saranac. He was transported by Life EMS to Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids where he remains in serious condition but is expected to live.    

 

Deputies preliminary investigation showed that McKibben was eastbound on M-21 in a Ford Explorer toward Saranac and crossed the centerline into the westbound lane of travel.

The other two vehicles were both traveling westbound and were unable to avoid the impending collision due to a guardrail and bridge located on the roadway.

 

McKibben’s vehicle sideswiped the first vehicle, a Kia driven by 38-year-old Anna Burr, before striking the Buick Rendezvous head-on causing the fatal injury to the driver. 

 

No information is being released about the victim at this time. 

Ionia County Central Dispatch, Lowell and Saranac fire departments, Life EMS, Lehman’s Funeral Home, Reed and Hoppes Towing, Ionia County Road Commission and numerous civilians assisted deputies. The crash remains under investigation.

            

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Pair who twice pleaded guilty to assault with intent to murder to be sentenced Nov. 16

Tiffany Chanthavong, 23, and her boyfriend Cory Wagner, 28, were sentenced to prison last year after both pleaded guilty to assault with intent to murder Wagner’s mother.

In October, 2016, Chanthavong was sentenced to 23.3 to 40 years in prison. Two weeks later, Wagner was sentenced to prison for 15 to 35 years.

 

Both were allowed to withdraw their pleas based on legal technicalities to do with plea taking procedures, and both were back in court Sept. 8 seeking trials.

 

However, neither would go to trial.

 

Earlier this month, Wagner again pleaded guilty to assault with intent to murder and is to be sentenced by Judge Amy Mc Dowell on Nov. 16 at 8:10 a.m.

Last week, Chanthavong also again pleaded guilty to the same charge and will be sentenced Nov. 16 at 8:15 a.m. in the same court.

 

On July 4, 2016, the couple were at Wagner’s mother’s house on Huff Road in Assyria Township asking her for money for him to leave the state to get away from problems with the law in Michigan.

When Diane Wagner refused, the pair beat her, threatened to kill her with a knife, tied her to a chair, locked her in a bathroom, stole her car and credit card and fled.

They were arrested in Illinois the next day and brought back to Barry County to face charges.

 

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Hepatitis A outbreaks across the state prompt calls for vaccination

As a result of Hepatitis A outbreaks around the state, the Barry-Eaton District Health Department (BEDHD) reminds residents that vaccination is the best defense against the contagious disease.

Hepatitis A is vaccine-preventable disease, often spread through the ingestion of food or water contaminated with infected feces or by oral contact with contaminated objects.

 

Transmission can occur easily among household contacts and sexual partners. High risk factors include homelessness or use of transient housing, illicit drug use, and incarceration. Men who have sex with men and sex workers and their clients are also at high risk.

 

While the risk of getting hepatitis A is higher among these specific populations, the health department recommends that all individuals be vaccinated against the disease. The effects of the disease can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious illness lasting several months.

 

Illness generally occurs two to six weeks after exposure to the virus with symptoms that includes fatigue, abdominal pain, yellow skin (jaundice), dark urine, and pale stool. Some people have no symptoms. Vaccination and thorough hand washing can prevent infection.

 

People who believe they have been exposed to hepatitis A or who have symptoms should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

 

Anyone who wants to be vaccinated should contact their healthcare provider or BEDHD at (517) 541-2630 for Eaton County or (269) 798-4133 for Barry County.

 

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Record rainfall in October

October 2017 turned out to be the wettest month on record according to the Hastings National Weather Service Climatological Station. The total rain for the month measured  11.72 inches, making up for the lack of rain in September where just a little over a half inch (.58) fell for the entire month.

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