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Local News Archives for 2019-07

Is Your Family Up to Date on Vaccines?

You have the power to protect yourself and your family against serious diseases.

Vaccines help protect against diseases like measles, whooping cough, cancers caused by HPV, and pneumonia. To help keep our community safe, The Barry Eaton District Health Department is proudly participating in National Immunization Awareness Month.

 

Talk to your doctor, nurse, or other healthcare professional to ensure your family is up-to-date on recommended vaccines. Keeping children and adults up-to-date on their vaccines is important for their protection.

 

Before children reach two years old, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends vaccines to prevent 14 infectious diseases. Each recommended vaccine dose is scheduled based on the age the body’s immune system will respond the best and the need to protect infants and children at the earliest age possible.

 

On time vaccination throughout childhood is essential because it helps provide immunity before children are exposed to potentially life threatening diseases. The vaccines are tested to be sure they are safe and effective for children to receive at the recommended ages.

 

The Barry-Eaton District Health Department offers weekly vaccination clinics for residents. Clinics are held Tuesdays in Barry County and Wednesdays in Eaton County. All recommended child and adult vaccines are available at the health department. To make an appointment for you or your child to be vaccinated, call (269) 798-9516 in Barry County or (517) 543-2630 in Eaton

 

According to March 2019 data from the Michigan Care Improvement Registry, only 59 percent of Michigan children 19 through 35 months of age were up to date with the recommended vaccines.

 

In Eaton County, 76 percent of children aged three months old were up to date on vaccines. At seven months the number dropped to 61 percent and at 24 months only 49 percent were up to date.

 

In Barry County, 85 percent of children aged three months old were up to date on vaccines. At seven months 56 percent were up to date, and at 24 months the number dropped to 49 percent.  

 

For more information about when your child needs to be vaccinated, talk to your healthcare provider, contact the health department, or visit https://bit.ly/2O2SHtG.

Immunizations are also important to the health of adults, especially pregnant women and older adults.

 

The vaccines you need as an adult are determined by many factors including your age, lifestyle, health condition, and which vaccines you’ve received during your life. Use the Adult Vaccine Assessment Tool, located at https://bit.ly/2jZznhv , to determine what vaccines are recommended for you.

 

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Man plans 284 mile walk to inspire others

On Aug. 18, Mike Hamp will get a “send off” for a 284-mile walk from Hastings to St. Ignace he is going to make to bring hope to those struggling with mental health and battling addictions.

 

Secure Counseling, 220 South Broadway in Hastings, has partnered with Hamp and is hosting the event with games, food, music, giveaways, vendors, cotton candy, popcorn and a chance to meet and talk with Hamp following a 5K walk with him.

 

“Start with a walk with Mike and end with a celebration,” said Liz Eddy, marketing director at Secure. The event is free.

Hamp will start his walk the next morning, Monday, Aug 19. He has an estimated mileage schedule for each day and the places where he will spend the nights.

 

Hamp hopes to inspire others who have, or are going through, what he did.

He said after living half of his life addicted to opiates and alcohol, with depression,  suicidal thoughts and hopelessness, poor self-esteem and lacking self-confidence, and with years of therapies, counseling and rehabs, he realized it was his thoughts and the way his brain was wired that were the problem.

 

“If that was what was keeping me in a very dark place, then it was thinking that was going to get me out… this is a forever process, and I have learned that growth always comes after a struggle, so we must learn to embrace the struggle,” he said.

 

“This will just be a great time for the community to come out and support Mike before he takes off on his walk on that Monday morning,” Eddy said.

 

To learn more about Hamp, visit www.valuesnotfeelings.org

If you are interested in the 5K, text SECURE 484848 for more info.

For details, visit the Secure Counseling event Facebook page.

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Barry County Chamber of Commerce Brewfest

The 4th Annual Barry County BrewFest is slated for Saturday, August 3rd from 2:00p.m. to 8:00p.m. in downtown Nashville in conjuction with the Nashville Sesquicentennial.  BrewFest features specialty brews, hard ciders, wine and mead from 22 of Michigan's best craft breweries.

 

People love to come to festivals like this to sample new brews, explore trends in the industry and overall just have a great time, says Travis Alden, event organizer and President of the Barry County Chamber of Commerce and Economics Developement Alliance.  Bringing visitors to the small communites throughout Barry County is one of the Chamber of Commerce goals for the event.  BrewFest is intentionally held in a different location each year.

 

While Brews take center stage at the event, BrewFest coincides with Nashville's Sesquicentennial, a three day celebration of its 150th anniversary of being founded.  The weekend offers a slew of additional activites, ranging from a parade, historical presentations, live music, family activities, a world record breaking attempt and more.http://nashville150.org

 

Tickets for Barry County BrewFest are $15 in advance (available online, at Court Side Screen Printing & Embroidery or at the Chamber office) or $20. at the gate.  Admission price includes access to the event, a commemorative 5 oz. tasting glass and five tasting tickets.  Admission is $5. for designated drivers, and free for anyone under 21 years old.  See http://barrybrewfest.com 

for event information, brewery list, and to purchase advance tickets.

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Do you have a photo that captures a memory about Middleville "back in the day?"

Do you have  a photo of you helping your grandma churn real butter on a summer visit to her farm? Maybe splashing in an area lake with the family on summer vacation, or a farmer plowing a field with a team of horses?

 

If you have a photo that is related to Middleville’s past, (that’s anything before “now”) that captures a memory for you, consider entering it in the Middleville Heritage Days photo contest.

 

To enter the contest for the best photo that says “Remember When…” submit yours in the JPEG, GIF or PNG format to: https://middlevilleheritagedays.com/events/photo-contest/enter-photo-contest/

 

The submitted photos will be at the same website under events/register to vote for visitors to select their favorites. The most vote getting photos will be semifinalists and displayed during Heritage Days, Aug. 16-18 for final judging by popular vote. The winner gets a $50 prize.

 

Submit only photos that you own (you took the picture). Don’t worry about crowd shots, but do get permission to use it from identifiable people in the photo. Please no writing or names on the photo.

Visit the above website for further details.

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Freeport Homecoming is Saturday, come make another memory

Freeport natives, friends, families and those who have moved away are encouraged to attend tomorrow’s homecoming catch up with old friends and meet new ones.      

The day starts with breakfast; every year Freeport’s firefighters cook a pancake breakfast..    

 

              Deloris Dipp

The pancakes, sausage, eggs and a beverage will be ready at 7 a.m. at the fire station.

Line up for the parade of kids, vehicles, clowns, pets and marchers is at 9:30 a.m. steps off at 10 a.m. This year’s Grand Marshal is Deloris Dipp.

 

The Classic Car show registration is from 8 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. The cars will fill up the main street and children’s games and event will begin. Music by “Geez Louise” begins at noon.
The Freeport Museum will be open for tours and sales of the ladies history/recipe books following the parade. Dipp will be in front of the museum to say hello to former students and greet the community (see related story).
Organizers say the public is cordially invited to come to the Freeport Homecoming where you will find good food, entertainment and make memories.


About Grand Marshal Deloris Dipp:

In July, 1946 the George Owen family moved to Freeport.  Deloris and her four siblings, Albert, Tom, Ron and Barb joined ball teams, delivered papers and entered the workforce of the village.  All graduated from Freeport high except Barbara, who graduated from Thornapple Kellogg in Middleville.

 

Deloris had three dreams; become a teacher, marry a good person and have children. All were achieved.  She graduated from Barry County Normal in 1950 and taught at Fish, Shultz, Freeport, Welcome Corners and retired after 16 years from Hastings area schools, a total of 36 years, plus subbing in a various schools.

 

She also worked in a grocery store, printing office and the drug store, all in Freeport.
She married Ernest Dipp, a farmer, and they had two children, Beverly and Bryan.
Deloris never stopped moving, she mowed her yards, had flower gardens, vegetable gardens, quilted with the Lutheran Church group and the Hope Quilters for over 25 years.  She gave more than 130 quilts to nursing homes and families, many lap robes that warmed friends and elderly during cooler months.

 

Other hobbies included, traveling to Europe, Asia, Australia, China, Fiji, Mexico, Arizona, Florida and California.  Her late husband collected over 400 nutcrackers and canes from around the world.  "You buy it, you carry it,” was a family rule. 

 

Below are some the scenes from last year’s Homecoming.

 

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Freeport Museum tells the history of the village through 3,500 artifacts

An attraction during Freeport’s Homecoming Saturday is a tour of the Freeport Museum and meeting its founder, Deloris Dipp, Grand Marshal in the Homecoming Parade.

 

What follows is all about the Freeport Museum from Colleen Smelker, secretary of the society:

 

“Noting all of Freeport’s history and knowing most all of residents and their children, Deloris Dipp decided to start a historical society in the village in 1999. She attended council meetings, put ads in the Freeport News every week, made phone calls and went door to door, and soon found enough people interested in keeping our town’s history preserved for future generations. 

 

“The new group started having monthly meetings and going on fun outings to the old dump and found many treasurers, like old bottles and children's steel toys. The group also went to private owned burial sites.

“Elections of officers took place with Deloris made president, became incorporated, were classified as a 'small tax-exempt business' by the IRS because they net less than $ 50,000 a year.

 

“Up until recently, Deloris had always been president of the Freeport Historical Society and she still helps in many ways by offering her input and sharing a wealth of information on our local history.  We thank her for having a vision of a museum 20 years ago and the persistence and drive to follow through with this dream to keep the local history alive for future generations to enjoy.

 

“The museum found its present home in the local Masonic Lodge building, thanks to Allie Smith and many others. Around 2002, we received display cases from the Barry County Fair.

“Then, the citizens of Freeport started showering us with all sorts of items, from Freeport high school letter sweaters to corn shellers.  Our first item received was a pair of ice skates that belonged to Sam Roush, one of Freeport’s founders. We have inventoried 3,500 items.

 

“This year marks the museum's 20th anniversary and we're proud to say it is still self-supporting.  Every year we have a fund raiser to help pay the bills.  We started out selling post cards of old Freeport and they always went over big in the community. 

 

“We've had a soup supper, a pancake supper, a beef and noodle supper, made and sold yard swings for several years, raffled off half of hog donated by John Loftus, held Mother's Day luncheons, a quilt raffles and we boast on having the first few big bale rolling contests down main street during homecoming.

 

“Most recently, last year our “Ladies of Freeport History & Recipe Book # 1” came out and was a big success. This spring our second ladies book came out and is available to the public. Each book has 100 area women with their story.

 

“Requirements are the lady has to be from the Freeport area and be deceased.  We tell where she was born, her parents, including her mother's maiden name, her siblings, where she went to school, her husband, children, where she lived, her likes and hobbies.

Organizations she belonged to, her final resting place, a photo, and for fun, one of her recipes.  

 

“In 2020 and 2021 we will be making Freeport men's history books, with 100 men in each book.  Instead of recipes, we will have photos of the men with their trophy buck or fish, sports car or team of horses, speed boat, with their John Deere tractor, in front of their store, or in their army uniform; the options are endless.

 

The same qualifications apply for the men; they need to be from the Freeport area and are deceased. 

“If you have a loved one you would like in one of the books, call Colleen at 616-765-8481 or visit the museum on work bee on Wednesdays from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Our e-mail is Freeport127@gmail.com for more information or to schedule a tour.

 

“The museum has many ideas in mind for future projects. One is to collect all of the Freeport students who graduated from Thornapple Kellogg High School from 1962 to present. “We're always looking for old pictures of Freeport, homecomings, businesses, inside and out, farm scenes, family reunions, one-room school pictures, anything to do with Freeport. 

 

“We'll scan your photo into the computer and gave your photo right back to you while you wait. 
“There's been a lot of excitement around the country about the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment that gave women the right to vote coming up next year and we're hoping our town will participate in this historic event. 

 

“Let us know if you want to be part of organizing this fun event.
Anyone interested in joining, come on down, we could use your help.”

 

“Deloris Dipp is responsible for getting this whole thing started and we're so thankful to her.  The museum is such a fun place to visit and see the old graduation photos and all the old farm equipment, thousands of items right from the Freeport area.”

 

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Gun Lake Tribe first tribe to be certified for fiduciary practices adhering to global standards of excellence

The Centre for Fiduciary Excellence (CEFEX) has certified the investment fiduciary practices of the Gun Lake Tribe of Shelbyville as adhering to a global standard of excellence for Investment Stewards.

 

The Gun Lake Tribe is the first federally recognized Indian Tribe to successfully complete the independent CEFEX certification process, obtaining its certification in partnership with Sovereign Investment Advisors, LLC (SIA) who serves as the Tribe’s independent investment advisor.

 

“As Tribal leaders we are required to serve as fiduciaries to ensure that we make decisions that are in the best interests of our membership. This certification from CEFEX demonstrates to everyone that we are conforming to a strict set of best practices in the management of our investment portfolios. We are proud of our financial discipline and we are honored to be the first Sovereign Nation to earn this distinction,” Gun Lake Tribal Chairman Bob Peters said.

 

The CEFEX standard of excellence for Investment Stewards is based on 21 fiduciary practices that seek to increase long-term investment performance by diversifying the portfolio across multiple asset classes and peer groups, evaluating investment management fees and expenses, and selecting or terminating investment managers.

The practices also help uncover investment and/or procedural risk.

 

A full copy of the standard is available at www.fi360.com.

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Spectrum Health Pennock Legionella remediation update

The Barry-Eaton District Health Department (BEDHD) has released an update on the Legionella bacteria found in the private water system at Spectrum Health Pennock hospital in late December of last year. Having shown successful remediation of Legionella from the water supply, the health department no longer requires Spectrum Health Pennock to submit bimonthly water testing.

 

The hospital has submitted regular water tests for review per the remediation plan, following the initial plan developed by the hospital and the health department when the bacteria was first discovered. Testing will continue on a quarterly basis for the foreseeable future.

 

Since Legionella bacteria was found, the hospital installed a monochloramine water treatment unit under a permit from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy for its private water system to address the bacterial contamination.

 

The hospital also instituted a Water Safety and Management Plan that specifically addresses Legionella bacteria. The treatment unit has demonstrated it has been effective in significantly reducing or eliminating Legionella bacteria that may be present in the water supply. 

Updated water management protocols have also been put in place to safeguard the water supply. //

 

Spectrum Health Pennock continues to work cooperatively with EGLE and BEDHD to ensure continued use of water monitoring and treatment protocol. They plan to continue testing water throughout the facility for Legionella bacteria four times per year for the foreseeable future as part of their Water Safety and Management Plan.

 

The health department will continue to monitor the test results. Legionnaire’s Disease is caused by bacteria called Legionella, a kind of pneumonia, or lung infection. People can become infected with Legionella when they breathe in water droplets containing the bacteria.

 

Symptoms of Legionnaire’s Disease are cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches, headache, and fever. The disease can be serious but is treatable with antibiotics. Most people affected will need to go to the hospital,  but will make a full recovery. However, about 1 in 10 people with Legionnaire’s die from the infection. It cannot be spread from person to person.  

 

More information about the disease can be found on the CDC’s website at https://www.cdc.gov/legionella/fastfacts.html.

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Barry County Commission asked to support county-wide coordinated recycling

Jim Brown, supervisor of Hasting Charter Township and member of the Barry County Solid Waste Oversight Committee, told County Commissioners Tuesday that the committee needs a long range plan to deal with recycling at the local level.

 

Recycling has changed drastically since China stop taking our recyclable materials because of contamination and other countries are in the same process, he said.

 “There are no easy solutions, but there things we can do,” he said. The solid waste committee needs to know where commissioners stand on the overall picture of supporting recycling, both physically and financially.

 

He asked them to fill out a questionnaire similar to an earlier questionnaire sent to townships several years ago that showed “overwhelmingly” 70 percent positive in support for recycling “in a basic form and at a reasonable cost.”

The commissioner’s answers will be a “great help” in the thought and direction of the committee’s planning, he said. He asked they be returned to the committee before its next meeting Aug. 9.

 

The questions are:

Would a coordinated countywide recycling effort be more effective than several individual systems doing similar but different efforts-- yes or no?

 

If coordinated, should all villages, townships and cities be included in the plan--yes or no?

 

There is always a financial cost to recycling. Should this cost be fairly shared by each governmental entity; county, townships, villages and cities--yes or no?

 

No matter the plan, what should be the leading force to make it successful?

1.County commissioners-- yes or no?

2.An appointed committee under the solid waste committee’s direction--yes or no?

3.If an appointed committee, should a paid director be used for day to day operations--yes or no?//

 

A year and a half ago, when China shut off all the importation of all recyclable “materials” the country was shipping them, Brown said he made some comments at the Michigan Recycling Coalition.

 

“I said this is the best thing that ever could happen to us… Dead Silence…After I explained why…I got a round of applause, which shocked me to no end.  

 

“And, the reason I said that is because we’re too smart, we’ve got too much talent, to be shipping our garbage overseas, and we don’t need to ship garbage, we can actually take the material ourselves and use it.”

 

“When I walked out of the room, though, one of the big waste haulers, which I won’t name, called me over and said ‘that was a stupid thing to say.’

“Those people are in the collection business, they are very good at it and we need them, but we don’t need them to do what they are doing right now, which is basically mixing everything into one big pile and then hoping we can make some sense out of it.”

 

Brown said the collection is starting to shift to separating items as is it done in the recycling station at Hastings Township. He said in Barry County six townships have recycling programs, “but we could do a lot better.

 

“We need something for the whole county…but we can’t do it alone, so I want you to seriously take a look at that questionnaire; there’s a page in there for comments, be completely honest, because we need something to go forward with. If we’re going to do anything, we need to start planning and get with it.”

 

Commissioner Jon Smelker asked if there is a market for recycled material.

Right now, everything is priced very low, but recycling keeps people working, keeps items out of a landfill, helps the environment and is sometimes used to produce energy,  Brown said.

If it is done right, in the future it will pay to recycle, he said.

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Thornapple Manor earns place on Spectrum Health's high performing skilled nursing facility list

Thornapple Manor Executive Director of Don Haney updated the Barry County Board of Commissioners Tuesday on the facility and went over statistics from a Market Integration Report on the facility from auditing firm Plante Moran. The full report is available at www.barrycounty.org in the latest board packet.

 

But the big news came after the statistics.

 

Thornapple Manor has earned the right to be in a Spectrum Health network of high performing skilled nursing facilities. If a patient has a preference, it is always followed, Haney said, but if they don’t know, Spectrum “will give them a list of folks that do a great job within 50 miles of Grand Rapids,” that includes Thornapple Manor.

 

The nursing facilities in the 50 mile radius had to score 75 percent or higher on Spectrums criteria of quality indicators to be included on the list. “We scored high enough to be invited to participate in that high performing network,” he said, adding that he signed the affiliation agreement last week.

The program is not effective until Sept. 1, but Haney was given permission to tell the Barry County Commissioners ahead of the date.

 

The facility’s re-hospitalization rate is 23.4 percent, 6.7 percent below the expected rate of 30.16. “So we’re not even sending folks back to the hospital as they might expect us to. We’re either keeping them in the building or sending them home, which is a good thing for everybody.”

 

“We might have a higher cost per day to provide services, but we do a better job of getting our residents the care that they need and getting them recovered and then getting back into the community, thus our lower total cost of care.” The lower total cost also saves taxpayer’s money, he added.

 

To a question on room availability, he said as of today, they are 100 percent full.

“It does occur on occasion…we’re in a period right now when our refill is high and our building is completely full…yes, that happens, unfortunately.”

 

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Barry Conservation District report outlines program that benefit county residents

Sarah Nelson, executive director of the Barry Conservation District, gave Barry County Commissioners the district’s annual report Tuesday. Nelson gave an overview of the district’s programs and accomplishments in 2018, and “a sense of how the district benefits the county.”

The district programs Nelson described were:

 

*The Forest Assistance Program that helps private land owners better manage their forestry resources

 

*The Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program helps farmers meet generally accepted farming practices

 

*The Forest Wetlands and Habitat System verification program showcases efforts of forest wetlands and habitat owners.

 

*The Barry, Calhoun Kalamazoo Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area is a large group of organizations working to combat invasive species in those areas.

 

*The Thornapple River Watershed non-point pollution solution source management program provides informational programs in Eaton and Barry counties and on farm visits seeking potential ways to reduce non-point pollution in farming practices.

 

*The Thornapple River Cleanup Program, an annual event where volunteers clean up about 60 miles of the river.

 

*On Youth Day, Barry County families are invited to bring their children to Charlton Park for them to try some three dozen outdoor activities. The annual event is community sponsored, funded entirely by donations.

 

*The Wildlife Habitat Project, a two year project that ends this year, restored fen, prairie grassland and Oak savanna and mixed Oak forest on three county properties.

 

Nelson named three ways that local units of government can get involved with the district and what they do; invasive species management, developing land management plans for property they own and in qualified forest program referrals. For details, officials should call the district, she said.

 

Coming up: In August, a Shoreline Symposium, in September, Youth Day, the annual Thornapple River Cleanup and a Natural

Shoreline Workshop at Charlton Park and in October, a Forest Management Field Day.

 

Nelson ended the report by thanking the commission.

“I think that with the support we get from you all, we’re able to provide really great services and programs to the people of Barry County and we’re really grateful we have that opportunity.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kalamazoo County treasurer warns more counterfeit money is circulating

The Kalamazoo County Treasurer’s office is once again alerting residents of fraudulent currency circulating in the community.

 

Treasurer Mary Balkema reports the county has been on the receiving end of fraudulent currency for the second time this month.  Her office detected a counterfeit bill that had been presented for payment at the county administration building. 

 

 “We know that if fraudulent currency is making its way to the county, it is impacting local business owners and citizens,” Balkema warned. “If you or your employees handle cash, it’s important to be aware this is happening in the community, and to check bills you handle $10 and over.”

A good resource is the Secret Service’s Know Your Money downloadable PDF which points out important characteristics in authenticating currency, she said.

 

The fraudulent currency detected by the treasurer’s office today appeared almost identical to an authentic bill, but the texture of the paper and the size were immediate indicators of a problem.  

 

If you believe you have received a counterfeit bill do not put your safety in danger, retain the bill in question and contact your local police department.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos: Examplies of real and fake $10 bills.

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Barry County employees earn recognition and service awards

The Barry County Board of Commissioners Tuesday recognized several county employees with a certificate of appreciation for their years of service as well as public recognition for their contributions to the county.

Employee Service Awards went to employees usually introduced by department heads.

 

April Staines, deputy register in the Register of Deeds office, said Abstractor Bindi Shumate has five years of employment with the county, does the work of one and a half employees without complaining and is described by co-workers as helpful, dedicated and friendly.

 

Tammy Pennington, executive director of the COA, presented Diane Neeb, adult day care coordinator, who has 15 years with the county. Neeb designed and created an adult day care center program, writing its policies and procedures, care plans and hiring staff. Neeb is a highly respected expert in the community and is said to be dedicated, motivated and inspirational.

 

Tammi Price, program manager of the adult specialty courts, introduced Brenda Morgan of the specialty court program. With 10 years with the county, Morgan is descried by coworkers as honest, straight forward, passionate, understanding and with a caring heart.

 

Price also presented Michelle Weeldreyer of the specialty court. Weeldreyer is a 20-year employee with the county who brings much laughter to her department, always steps in to help wherever it is needed, gives co-workers the tools needed to succeed and is funny, friendly and understanding.

 

Commission chairperson Heather Wing spoke for Tim Neeb, building and grounds director. A 20-year employee of the county, Need oversees a staff of 4.5 employees and protects the county’s most iconic buildings the same as he does more modern buildings that serve the county, Wing said. Neeb is knowledgeable, reliable and honest and the work he does impacts the county in some way every day, Wing said.

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Hastings Police Department adds three officers, all at the same time

In the regular police report to the Hastings City Council Monday, Deputy Chief Dale Boulter, standing in for vacationing Chief Jeff Pratt, said for the first time in its history, or at least as long as he's been with the department,  they have three brand new officers all at the same time: Nathan Schaap, Mario Jimenez and Steven Damveld.

Schapp just graduated from the Grand Valley Police Academy and is in his fourth week of training; Jimenez comes from the GVSU Police Department and is in his second week. Damveld, who reports Monday, works for the Department of Corrections and will replace Sgt. Denis Lajcak who will be retiring.

“It’s a little challenging getting them all started…but I’m sure they will work out fine. So, you’ll see a lot of new faces. We’ll get them all in here and introduce them,” Boulter said.

 

In other police matters, Sgt. Karen Larsen and fellow officers Julissa Kelly and Kaitlin Stults attended one-day training session in Grand Rapids for "Female Enforcers" and gave positive feedback from it.

 

Boulter, who is credited with organizing the National Night Out observance locally, gave the council an update on the event. The evening is a great way for the public to meet and get to know the people in Barry County who respond to them, their friends and neighbors during an emergency.

 

“The event promotes a sense of community, positive public relations, safety and trust between the public and emergency services personnel who serve them,” he said.

Barry Central 911, Hastings and county police departments,

 

Barry County Sheriff’s deputies, Michigan State troopers, area fire department firefighters, EMTs and ambulance service personnel will bring their equipment and explain what they do in emergency response.

 

He said planning for the event is coming together nicely. Barry County Sheriff’s Posse members and Hastings Police Department Reserve officers will work together again to control the traffic flow during the 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. event. Boulter said they have 43 sponsors for the Aug. 6 event so far and are posting event information on their Facebook page.

 

 

 

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Power Outage Update

Consumers Energy customers are now back in service after last weekends severe storms knocked out power to thousand of their customers.

Final restoration was completed tuesday.

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Hastings approves smokeless powder storage vault at BCN

Ron Fukui, vice president of BCN Technical Services, Inc. received permission from the Hastings City Council Monday to put a smokeless gun powder and primer storage vault at the facility. BCN does work for the defense industry and it is a federal requirement to use the powder in the development process for small caliber ammunition manufacturing equipment.

 

Fukui said the powder burns quickly, but does not explode. The risk posed by the material is low, especially compared to common explosives like aerosol cans and propane, he said. Hastings Fire Chief Roger Caris had no objections to the storage of the powder.

 

The company has an upcoming requirement and has purchased an authorized storage vault they plan to store outdoors in a fenced-in area in the front of the business.

Fukui has discussed the powder locker with the ATF. BCN hold Class 10 and 11 Federal Firearms Licenses and are in compliance with ATF guidelines.

 

In other business, the council agreed to a contract to pay Consumers Energy for the installation of new LED fixtures in place of failed and inefficient high pressure sodium streetlights in the city and a second contract that removes the high pressure sodium lights from the standard lighting contract, in effect amending the first contract, City Manager Jerry Czarnecki said.

 

The council approved paying the budgeted amount of $9,106.21 to pay for school crossing guards, which is one half of the cost that is shared with the Hastings Area School system.

 

Also, they appointed Clerk/Treasurer Jane Saurman as Officer Delegate and Police Chief Jeff Pratt as Officer Alternate Delegate to the Municipal Employees Retirement System annual conference in October.

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Hastings crews will pick up storm debris Wednesday, July 24

The City of Hastings released the following statement Monday morning:

 

“Due to the storms that came through this weekend, the City of Hastings will be making one pass through the city to collect storm debris beginning Wednesday, July 24. Please have any storm debris to the curb prior to Wednesday. 

“We ask that you do not put debris in the street and do your best not to block sidewalks. 

The crew will be out assessing damage and working on clean up. If you have any questions, please contact City Hall, 945-2468.”

 

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UPDATE: Green Lake drowning victim identified

 UPDATE: The Allegan County Sheriff’s Office has identified the Caledonia man who drowned in Green Lake Saturday as Michael Raymond Pawloski. His body was recovered from the lake bottom in 60 feet of water today at about 2:15 p.m..

 

ORIGINAL STORY: The Allegan County Sheriff’s Office marine and road patrols, Leighton Fire Department and Allegan County Dive/Rescue & Recovery Team responded to a report of a drowning in Green Lake Saturday at about 2 p.m., the sheriff’s office reports.

 

Marine officers, divers and fire personnel began searching the lake for the missing victim; however reports where he was last seen were sketchy.  Due to limited information, personnel and conditions, Kent County’s Dive Team was requested to assist with additional sonar technology and underwater cameras.

 

Severe storms, wind and lightning continued through the afternoon making search and recovery efforts difficult because of the hazardous conditions. Search efforts resumed this morning.

 

The victim was identified as a 58-year-old Caledonia man who resided off Green Lake.  Information indicated that the victim, who was not wearing a life jacket, was swimming off his pontoon when he went under the water. His name is being withheld until additional family and children can be notified.

 

The Kent County Dive Team, Leighton and Wayland/Yankee Springs fire departments assisted sheriff’s office personnel.

 

 

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UPDATE: Sunday motorcycle crash victim identified

UPDATE:The Allegan County Sheriff's Office has identified the victim in Sunday's motorcycle crash as Austin Lee Brown.

 

ORIGINAL STORY:A motorcycle crash where the driver died and the passenger was seriously injured is being investigated by the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office.

 

Deputies responded to the crash in the area of 118th Avenue and 37th Street in Valley Township shortly before 2 a.m. Sunday, a sheriff’s news release said.

 

The motorcycle failed to stop at the dead end portion of 118th Avenue west of 37th Street, continuing down a steep embankment into the wooded area striking several trees and coming to a stop about 30 feet off the roadway, the report said.

 

The driver who died in the crash is descried by deputies as a young man in his late teens. The woman passenger sustained serious injuries. Names are not being released at this time.

 

Hamilton Fire Department and Life EMS assisted deputies at the scene.


 

 

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Storms

A line of Severe Thunderstorms moved across Lower Michigan around 2:00 o'clock this Saturday morning.

The storms knocked down trees, limbs and power lines taking out electric service to thousands.

Over 8,000 lost power here in Barry County. No reported injuries.  Tree at the corner of Michigan & Clinton   in Hastings

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Six car crash on I-96

On Friday July 19th at 2:05pm, the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office responded to a reported 6 car crash on westbound I-96 at the Jordan Lake Road overpass in Berlin Township. 

 

The preliminary investigation showed that during a moment of heavy traffic flow in the west bound lanes, traffic stopped briefly.  The four vehicles in the front of the crash were able to stop in an assured clear distance without hitting each other.  The two vehicles in the rear of the crash were unable to stop in time and caused the vehicles in front to collide with each other.

  

All occupants of the vehicles were identified and treated on scene or transported to local hospitals for minor injuries. 

 

Neither alcohol or drugs nor excessive speeds are believed to be factors in this crash.  

 

The Ionia County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by East Beltline Towing, Reed & Hoppes Towing, Life Ambulance, Berlin Orange Fire Department and the Ionia County Central Dispatch Center. 

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Delton Man arrested for child sexually abusive activity

 

The Michigan State Police is announcing the arrest of Dakota Chilton, 19, of Delton, on charges of child sexually abusive activity, child sexually abusive material possession, child abusive commercial activity distributing or promoting, and using computers to commit a crime.

The investigation by the Michigan State Police Computer Crimes Unit, Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force was initiated when a National Center for Missing and Exploited Children tip was forwarded to the Fifth District Computer Crimes Unit. Detectives learned that Chilton possessed child sexual abusive material.

A search warrant was executed at Chilton’s home and digital evidence seized. An interview of Chilton was also conducted where digital evidence was seized. Troopers from the MSP Wayland Post assisted with the search warrant.

The Michigan State Police Computer Crimes Unit encourages parents to speak to their children about the safe use of the internet. There are many resources available to parents to assist in keeping children safe online. Find a comprehensive list of resources athttp://www.missingkids.org.

If you have information regarding possible child sexual exploitation, report it to the CyberTipLine athttp://www.missingkids.org/cybertipline.

 
 
 

 

 

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Learn to hunt fall turkey at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute

The Michigan State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation presents a mentored fall turkey hunt Sept. 27-28 at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute, 701 West Cloverdale Road in Hastings.

There will be an optional range day at Rose Lake Shooting Range in Bath, with a date to be determined.

 

Cost is $130, which includes two nights' lodging at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute's Meadow Lodge Housing Unit, Friday evening dinner, breakfast snacks, Saturday lunch and Saturday evening wild game sampling.

 

Pierce Cedar Creek Institute has 740 acres of prime habitat, managed for all sorts of wildlife. The event is limited to 12 new hunters, two hunters per mentor, and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The hunting license is not included.

 

Register online at NWTF.org/events (search under Michigan). Questions? Contact Steve Sharp at 517-930-0947 or ssharp@nwtf.net.

 

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No injuries in boat crash on Morrison Lake

The Ionia County Sheriff’s Office responded to Morrison Lake in Boston Township for a property damage boating crash Sunday, July 14 at about 10:30 a.m., according to a sheriff's news release.

 

A speed style boat was attempting to pull a skier up out of the water when it struck a bass boat with two fishermen aboard.  The fishermen were able to jump into the water just prior to the crash to avoid injury.  They were rescued by another nearby boater. 

 

Both boats were able to be brought ashore and there were no hazards in the water from the crash.  No injuries were reported at the scene.

 

The sheriff’s office reminds everyone to be safe and alert on the water.  A vessel operating on the waters within the State of Michigan shall operate with due care and caution of other boaters on the water, as well as other persons such as swimmers and kayakers enjoying the lakes, rivers, and waterways. 

 

The crash remains under investigation, so operator names are not being released at this time. 

 

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Tips to avoid heat stress from Ionia County Health Department

With heat indexes expected to exceed 100 in the next few days, please keep in mind that heat-related deaths and illness occur every summer, the Ionia County Health Department cautions.

 

Heat stress is dangerous but avoidable, and comes down to staying cool, staying hydrated and staying informed. Here are some simple tips for avoiding heat-

related illnesses:

 

1. Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible.

2. Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device.

3. Avoid direct sunlight.

4. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing.

5. Take cool showers or baths.

6. Drink more water than usual - Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink more fluids.

7. Drink from two to four cups of water every hour while working or exercising outside.

8. Avoid alcohol or liquids containing high amounts of sugar.

9. Remind others to drink enough water.

10. Check local news for extreme heat alerts and safety tips.

 

To access a list of the warning signs and symptoms of heat-related illness, visit:

http://www.cdc.gov/extremeheat/warning.html

 

For more information on the health implications of extreme heat, visit:

http://www.ready.gov/heat

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Landmark auto insurance overhaul the pathway forward for all Michigan drivers

"In the last several years, many improvements have been made to enhance opportunities for Michiganders, but one glaring exception lingered.  Michigan drivers have been asking for car insurance reform for decades.  It’s consistently been the number one concern that I have heard about from community members.

 

"When I was elected to represent you and your families in Lansing, I vowed to listen to and deliver on the priorities of communities in Barry and Ionia counties – including tackling car insurance reform.

 

"I made fixing our state’s broken car insurance system a top priority because it was important to so many, including seniors living on a fixed income, single parents trying to keep food on the table, and hard-working people merely trying to afford the expense of getting to work or school. These are the very people I had in mind when I cast my vote to make driving in our state more affordable.

 

"After open and inclusive deliberation and the willingness of the Legislature and the governor to work in a bipartisan fashion, we were able to craft a landmark overhaul – a long-lasting plan guaranteeing significant savings to every Michigan driver that I happily supported.

 

"The governor signed our reform plan, putting an end to partisan gridlock and delivering a huge win for the more than 7 million motorists across the state. Beginning in July 2020, drivers will finally have the freedom to select an insurance plan that best meets their families’ needs without draining their budgets.

 

"Seniors with retiree health coverage such as Medicare and those with health insurance policies that cover injuries suffered in car accidents are eligible to opt out of personal injury protection (PIP) altogether – saving them up to 50 percent on their annual premiums.

 

"Anyone who wants to continue purchasing unlimited PIP coverage in the future may do so, or choose coverage options of $500,000 or $250,000. A $50,000 option will be available only for those on Medicaid.

 

"Regardless of the coverage option they choose, all drivers are guaranteed lower rates on the PIP portion of their policies:

*100 percent reduction for drivers choosing to opt out of PIP coverage

*45 percent for drivers choosing the $50,000 coverage level

*35 percent for drivers choosing the $250,000 coverage level

*20 percent for drivers choosing the $500,000 coverage level

*10 percent for drivers choosing to continue receiving unlimited coverage.

 

"The new law also reins in the significantly higher fees charged by medical providers for auto accident claims. Those who have suffered injuries in an auto wreck will no longer be overcharged on their medical bills because a new fee schedule will be phased in to put reasonable caps on compensation for hospitals and other health care centers.

 

"Included in the solution are means for the Department of Insurance and Financial Services to fight abuse and fraud within the no-fault system. Combating frivolous lawsuits and fraudulent claims will help further drive down costs for every Michigander. Non-driving factors such as marital status, education levels and credit scores will also be banned from being used to determine drivers’ rates.

           

"These sweeping reforms – when in effect next summer – are components of the pathway forward motorists have wanted for so long. I have no doubt this new law will lead to a better future for every Michigan driver, and I cannot wait to see what this historic change will mean for our communities down the road."

 

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Hastings Papa Murphy's closes with no notice

Papa Murphy’s, a take ‘n’ bake pizza restaurant  in Hastings, closed  July 9 with no notice, leaving its surprised customers to find out they were no longer in business.

 

Customer Jim Gilbert said the only way he found out was from the manager of the store on Tuesday when he was picking up a pizza that he had ordered online. “It saddens me as they produced a quality product,” Gilbert said.

 

The business, at 1450 West M-43 Highway, specialized in pizzas home-made in the store and baked at home. They offered salads, appetizers and dozens of different pizza combinations and delivery to Hastings area customers.


Papa Murphy’s corporate headquarters in Vancouver Washington responded to an e-mail asking for comment, saying: “It's always a tough decision and a disappointment to close a store, but we hope to be open near you again in the future, serving up fresh pizza to our fans!”

 

According to its website, there are Papa Murphy stores in Plainwell, Jenison, Grand Rapids, Battle Creek, Holland, Kentwood, Kalamazoo and Walker and many more in more distant locations.

 

Papa Murphy’s, a take ‘n’ bake pizza restaurant chain, is the fifth-largest pizza chain in the United States, with more than 1,500 locations, its website said.

 

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UPDATE:Gun Lake drowning victim identified

UPDATE:The Barry County Sheriff's Office has identified Laura Smith,66, of Middleville, as the woman who drownd yesterday in Gun Lake. Smith was reported mising from a pontoon boat near MUrphy's Point and was later found floating near Hastings Point.

 

ORIGINAL STORY: A report of a person in the waters of Gun Lake at the day area of Yankee Springs State Park came into the Yankee Spring Township/Wayland Fire Department at 4:49 p.m. on Thursday, July 11, Deputy Chief Dan Miller reported.

 

Wayland Area EMS, Barry County and Allegan County dive teams, DNR Parks Division of Yankee Springs and Hastings Fire Department responded along with firefighters and EMR’s from the Yankee Springs Station.

 

At approximately 6:18 p.m. the body of a woman thought to be in her sixties was recovered. The Medical Examiner Investigator was there shortly and the Barry County Victim Services Unit was also at the scene, Miller said.

 

The woman’s name is not being released pending notification of family.

 

 

 

 

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Hastings hosts Gus Macker 3-on-3 this weekend

The Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament is in Hastings this weekend, July 13-14, bringing in hundreds of basketball lovers of all ages to compete for winner status and the famous Gus Macker Trophy.

 

The first Macker tournament was welcomed to Hastings by the Barry County Chamber of Commerce in 2012, attracting about 150 teams. It has returned every year since. By 2016, some 200 teams took part, with basketball courts expanding in the downtown area. This year, organizers expect more than 230 teams to play in front of their supporters, families and friends.

 

The original Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament was in 1974 in Lowell during March  Madness, when Scott McNeal, aka Gus Macker, brother Mitch and 18 kids each chipped in $1 and played for the first purse of $18 in the McNeal driveway, according to the tournament's website.

 

The tournament grew into a nationwide event for players of every age and skill levels. After 45 years and more than two million players, the tournaments are still designed for basketball players who love the driveway game. Barry County businesses sponsor courts and special events.

 

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Kalamazoo County Treasurer Warns of Fraudulent Currency

The Kalamazoo County Treasurer’s office is alerting residents of fraudulent currency circulating in the community, according to Deputy Treasurer Megan Buwalda.

 

Treasurer Mary Balkema reports the County has even been on the receiving end of this fraudulent currency.  The treasurer’s office detected a counterfeit $20 that had been presented for payment at the court. 

 

“If you or your employees handle cash, it’s important to be aware this is happening in the community, and to check bills you handle over $10,” Balkema warns.

A good resource is the Secret Service’s “Know Your Money” downloadable PDF which points out important characteristics in authenticating currency.

 

If you believe you have received a counterfeit bill, do not put your safety in danger, retain the bill in question and contact your local police department.

 

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NOTICE: Barry County July 16th committee of the whole meeting cancelled

The Barry County July 16th committee of the whole meeting has been cancelled due to lack of agenda items.

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Attracting volunteers to Barry County boards and committees discussed

Barry County Commissioners are still working on the best way to attract volunteers to serve on its various committees and boards. Several weeks ago, Commission Ben Geiger said he would develop a solution to the problem of not enough applicants to serve on the county boards.

 

Commissioners Tuesday agreed to use its advertising budget on traditional and other venues, including Facebook, and considered making the process as informal and relaxed as possible with a night committee of the whole meeting at the Tyden Center several times a year.

 

Also, commissioners would focus on finding the right fit for applicants, instead of just accepting or rejecting a person for a specific position. After meeting and talking with the available applicants, the commissioners would make recommendations to the full board.

 

Geiger said the approach was more efficient and less stressful for applicants. There is no streaming of Tyden Building meetings, but audio will be available, he said.

 

Commissioners serve on each board. If someone expressed an interest in animals, Commissioner David Jackson could talk to them about a board he sits on, the Animal Shelter Oversight Committee, tell of its goals and what they do.

 

The meeting could be formed as a workshop or if an official meeting, start with a short presentation at the beginning and agenda items taken care of before the discussions with each applicant.

Several details are still to be decided, but the commissioners seemed to agree with the idea of talking to all applicants in a night meeting, perhaps quarterly.

 

“Bottom line is, does it work?” said Commissioner Dan Parker said. “Two or three times a year, let’s do it.”

 

Also on Tuesday, Commissioner Heather Wing said traffic problems at the entrance of Walmart on M-37/M-43 may be eased next year by the Michigan Department of Transportation.

After an accident involving county employees in June, she said she inquired about the possibility and learned the MDOT had already made the decision to address the questionable area. They had considered lengthening the approach lane to the store, but decided it wouldn’t help much and are considering a traffic light at the entrance to the area, she said. The entrance has been the site of several accidents.

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Barry County Medical Examiner's annual report given to commissioners

Medical Examiner Joyce deJong gave her first annual ME’s report to Barry County Commissioners Tuesday prefacing it by saying:

 

“I recognize that this document is full of numbers, tables and charts. It is not lost on us that each number represents the death of a person, someone who was possibly a parent, grandparent, spouse, child, relative or friend to others. The deaths also represent a loss to the community as well, and we keep that in mind when dealing with the families.”

 

Barry County contracted with Western Michigan University Office of the Medical Examiner (commonly shortened to WMed) for medical examiner services in 2017 in what, “I think was a pretty smooth transition,” she said. “Things are going well with Barry County.”

 

The pathology staff at WMed includes deJong and deputy examiners; five medical doctors, a specialist in neuropathology and a forensic anthropologist. WMed serves a dozen counties including Barry and provides consulting services in forensic anthropology to other communities in Michigan and Indiana.

 

Accredited by the National Association of Medical Examiners, de Jong is proud to say they make their reports available to law enforcement, public health, families and others in an average of 30 days, when the accreditation call for reports in 60 days.

 

ME’s are called to investigate deaths due to violence, non-natural, unexpected or unexplained deaths, deaths of infants and children, due unusual or suspicious circumstances, a possible threat to public health, a person in a county or city jail, or those not under the care of a physician.

Generally, autopsies are conducted if it is necessary to determine cause, manner of death, to document injuries or disease or collect evidence.

 

Each county has several Medical Examiner Investigators who respond to nearly all deaths. The MEI is trained to recognize the vast majority of the deaths requiring postmortem examinations and, in those cases, immediately arranges for transport to WMed for a postmortem examination.

 

Homicides, infant deaths, and drug overdoses are examples of the deaths that are immediately sent. If it doesn’t appear to require for postmortem exam, the MEI contacts the on-call medical examiner to discuss the case before releasing the body to a funeral home. The MEI writes a report with photos that is reviewed by the ME or Deputy ME.

 

The statistics in the report are from the county where the person was pronounced dead, not necessarily where they lived, deJong said.

 

A total of 390 people died in Barry County in 2018; 67 percent were cremated.  One hundred forty six deaths were reported to an ME, 25 required a complete autopsy. Forty-four Gift of Life referrals were made. Nine people died from suicide in 2018, eight men and one woman; five were between 18-64 and three 65 or over.

 

There were two homicides by firearm last year and 21 died of accidental injuries. Of the five drug related deaths in 2018, four were accidental and one indeterminate, all males from 39 to 58 years old. Other counties have a larger problem with drug deaths, which doesn’t seem to be related to population size, deJong said.

 

The MEs office takes part in each county’s Child Death Review team meetings, issue cremation permits and has a high referral rate to the Gift of Life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pine Lake flooding solution estimated at $3 million, Barry County commissioners lift $10,000 spending limit

Barry County Drain Commissioner Jim Dull answered several questions from county commissioners Tuesday, but the main reason he was put on the agenda at the last minute was to ask them to approve an excess spending authorization for Pine Lake.

 

There is a $10,000 limit that can be spent on a drain project unless commissioners authorize extra spending. The commission approved lifting the $10,000 limit.

 

The level at Pine Lake was set by the court at 890.5 and is now at 894.1, Dull said.

“Houses are flooded, people are moving out…three county roads have water on them.”

But, he said, before they did anything, they held a public information meeting last week, “to get a feel if the people wanted something done,” or if they would end up in court like they did with Crooked Lake.

 

Dull said between 350 and 400 people attended the meeting, and most raised their hands when asked if they wanted something done.

 

When the crowd found the estimate to fix the flooding was $3 million dollars, Dull said, “one guy stood up and said, ‘660 homes, $3 million dollars, $5,000 each. Why ain’t it done?’ Everybody clapped, so I take that as they were on board.”

A study by ProgressiveAE in 1993 would be updated as well as a special assessment district from 1969.

 

The special assessment district would include lake front property, back lots, lake use and possibly public landings; anyone who benefits from the lake, he said. Allegan County Drain Commissioner Denise Medemar will ask the Allegan Commissioners to lift the limit on Thursday.

 

With approval from both counties, engineers Chad Marcarelli and Dan Fredericks will present three options to move the Pine Lake water and Dull will start talking to families about easements. Tentative plans are to move the water through a tributary to Gun Lake.

 

This is a lake level project, not a drain district petition project, which is a much longer process and more expensive than a lake level project, Dull said. Commissioner David Jackson asked if the project went from $3 million to $10 million, was there a way for residents in the special assessment district to stop it.

 

Dull said no. “To my knowledge that’s the way it works…going to court is possible, I don’t know.”

Jackson said his research showed the high water levels in the state will continue for a year or more. “It looks like there is no other solution.”

 

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Barry County will pay for emergency repair of COA leaking roof

Repairing the leaking roof on the Commission on Aging building for $25,750 by True Colors Industrial with payment from the Building Rehabilitation Fund was approved by Barry County Commissioners on a 4-2 vote Tuesday. The board voted for the emergency fix despite objections of Commissioners Jon Smelker and Howard “Hoot” Gibson, who both voted no.

 

Commissioner Vivian Conner, who submitted the agenda request for payment, was absent but sent a statement supporting the payment from county funds, noting that it was the board’s responsibility to get the new jail and COA building, “underway before we have major issues…it is appropriate for the county to pay for it because we have not moved forward yet…this board needs to move on these two buildings…”

 

When it was brought up at the committee of the whole last week, COA Executive Director Tammy Pennington said it was essential to repair the 18-year-old roof that leaks almost the entire length of the building.

 

Smelker said that the COA has voted millage and its own general fund as well as a building fund and asked if the county paid for the COA roof repairs, would they have to pay back other county agencies that had made repairs to their buildings from their general funds if they ask.

“We put roofs on Charlton Park, now the COA…(county entities) that get millage are not taking care of their buildings, not repairing roofs when they have a fund balance,” Smelker said.

 

He also questioned if COA had spent money on roof repairs in the past. Tuesday, Pennington said they looked up the figures and over the past 10 years, they had spent a total of $25,645 on roof repairs and clearing of snow off the roof.

 

The commission also addressed several recommendations from the committee of the whole meeting and approved:

 

*buying a 2020 Lund Model 1800 Alaskan with a 90 h.p. Mercury outboard motor and Trailmaster trailer for the Barry County Sheriff’s Office Marine Division for $25,128 to be paid from the Vehicle Fund.

 

*changes and additions to the Barry County Information Technology Security Policy, last updated in 2017.

 

*new office furniture for the Specialty Courts Office and office dividers for the Family Division clerical staff for $17,766.46 to come from the Capital Replacement Fund 2019 budget.

 

*the purchase of a 2019 GMC Terrain to replace a 2019 GVC Terrain totaled in an accident on June 20 through MiDeal purchasing program.

 

Also, the commission named Conner to attend the 73rd Michigan Employees Retirement System Conference as Officer Delegate and Commissioner Heather Wing as Officer Alternate.  

 

 

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Thornapple Kellogg student McKenna Nichols creates Heritage Days logo

Thornapple Kellogg junior McKenna Nichols was finished with her final exam when art teacher Barb Maring told the students they could enter a contest to create the official logo for Middleville’s Heritage Days theme for this year, “Remember When…”

 

McKenna had some extra time, so she let her mind wander about her past, her own “Remember When...”

“I was born in Middleville, lived all my life here,” she recalls thinking. “What memories do I have?” 

With some reflection, she realized her memories were linked with Middleville’s signature, an Old West Stagecoach.

 

“In all the good memories that happened growing up, the stagecoach always sticks out for me.”

Leafing through a book of stock photos, she knew the one she wanted as soon as she saw it; a stagecoach that exactly fit her vision of “Remember When...”

 

That’s what she settled on and her rendition was chosen to be the identifier for the three-day celebration of the village’s past this August 16-18.

 

McKenna will graduate from TK next year and hopes to attend MSU, and pursue a career in military law. “I’ve always had a passion for those who have no voice,” she said. “It’s highly competitive field, but it’s my dream job.”

McKenna, daughter of Jason and Lindsay Preslar, works at Hastings Four and also babysits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

McKenna Nichols

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Hastings fire gets new extrication equipment; police get two new patrol cars

Hastings City Manager Jerry Czarnecki’s first meeting in the position Monday went smoothly, with the City Council handling matters to do with running the city.

The council approved the Hastings Fire Department getting new rescue equipment and new asphalt in the parking lot. Replacement extrication equipment from MI Rescue Resources for $30,846.50 includes a Genesis C236 EForce Cutter, a Genesis EFORCE 2.0 Spreader, a 10 Genesis EFORCE Ram, a 12-inch ram extender and a Beluga Glass Cutter. Fire Chief Roger Caris said they receive just one bid and got $1,000 trade-in on an old set of hydraulic tools.

 

A-1 Asphalt was the only bidder for removing and replacing the asphalt in the parking lot for $25,622. The company will rotomill and remove 1.5 inches of asphalt, fill low areas where needed and install 1.5 inches of premium base asphalt and stripe seven stalls in latex traffic yellow paint. The bids on both projects are within the budgeted amounts for the fiscal year.

 

Deputy Police Chief Dale Boulter’s request was approved for the purchase of two 2020 Ford police interceptor utility AWD patrol cars for $73,724 ($36,862 each) from Signature Ford/Lincoln in Owasso, through MIDeal and also $10,018 for the changeover of patrol vehicles with new equipment and installation from C-Com of Kalamazoo. The vehicles and changeovers are in the 2019/2020 budget.

 

Matt Gergen, new director of the Department of Public Services, was not at the meeting because of a water main break on Market Street, but filed a report, Czarnecki said. The report said the plan for the city’s compost area on West State Road until fall is to supervise the gate into the area on Wednesdays from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m.to 11 a.m. The entrance gate has been vandalized twice since it was installed.

 

Czarnecki recommended and council approved a new position of Utility Billing Clerk. The AR-clerk is responsible the billing, reporting, and tracking of the water and sewer data, works with the DPS to schedule appointments for meter changes, creates shutoff lists and answers calls from customers regarding the water and sewer. The Utility Billing Clerk will monitor progress of readings, create the re-read list, and verify the hours worked by the meter reader, as well as monitor reading efficiency. There are two AR clerks.

 

Recently, directly supervising the meter reader was added to the position held by AR Clerk Kris Slagel. The position is given a new title, job description and a pay range of $14 to $19.50 to reflect the additional responsibility. Slagel, who will get no pay raise because she is already in that pay range, was appointed to the new position; her AR-clerk position will be eliminated.

 

The council also approved Czarnecki’s request for a joint workshop with the city planning commission July 22 at 6 p.m. with Attorney Jeff Sluggett for his advice on what should be changed or added to the city ordinance on DAS/small cell antenna in the city’s rights-of-way. Sluggett originally advised the city on the writing of its ordinance. Czarnecki asked the planning commission be at the meeting to better coordinate the needed changes or additions with the council.

 

In her Legislative Director’s report Councilwoman Brenda McNabb-Stange said state regulators have come up with emergency rules regarding the licensing for recreational marijuana. “The rules are good for six months and can be extended an additional six months. That’s to get everything started so communities know… what rules they will be under when they finally get things settled,” she said. Licenses will not be issued before Nov. 1.

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Health department clears Tequila's Mexican Grill to reopen

The Barry-Eaton District Health Department has cleared Tequila’s Mexican Grill in Charlotte to reopen as of Monday evening, July 8. Tequila’s is following an approved food safety plan after undergoing an inspection Monday afternoon, a media release said.

 

The health department will continue to monitor the restaurant’s implementation of the plan to ensure food safety. The restaurant’s exact reopening date and time in not known. Investigation into the cause of the June outbreak is ongoing, and an exact cause has not been determined at this time. 

 

Updates on the investigation will be provided as information becomes available. To access the information, visit www.barryeatonhealth.org.

 

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Gun Lake Tribe offers free tire recycling July 17

The Gun Lake Tribe announced the date of its next tire recycling event on Wednesday July 17 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Tribe’s Government Campus headquarters near the Gun Lake Casino.

Tractor tires will not be accepted and there is a limit of 10 tires per household.

 

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Single vehicle crash at M-37 and M-79 intersection claims life of Hastings man

The Barry County Sheriff’s Office investigated a single vehicle fatal crash at M-37 and M-79 in Hastings Township at 12:53 a.m. Sunday, according to a sheriff’s media release.

 

Investigation showed a Chevrolet Silverado driven by Matthew Rick, 44, from Hastings, was traveling westbound on M-79 when he went through the stop sign, crossed M-37 and hit a pole in a marsh area on the side of the road.  

 

Rick, the only occupant in the pickup, was pronounced dead at the scene. It appears he was wearing his seatbelt and the side airbags were deployed. It also appears speed was a factor in the crash; it’s unknown if alcohol or drugs were involved. He was transported to WMED in Kalamazoo for an autopsy.

 

Deputies were assisted by Hastings Fire Department, Mercy Ambulance Service, MDOT and Barry County Central Dispatch. Deputy Elliot Hausler and Deputy Scott Ware are the investigators. The news release was sent out by Sergeant Rich Frazer.

 

The crash is still under investigation.

 

 

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167th Barry County Fair is July 13-20

The Barry County Fair, honoring the past and building the future, opens July 13 and continues until July 20. The fair centers as usual on 4-H members and their animals and wide range of projects with related events packed in every day, starting with Youth Dog judging Saturday and continuing every day, showcasing kids and their talents.

 

Special days are always part of the fair, Tuesday is Veterans and Senior Day with $2.50 admission all day and a Senior Day Program at 9:30 a.m.

Wednesday is Children’s Day; Thursday is Ladies Day with $250 admission until noon and a special ladies program in the community tent.

 

Friday, the livestock sale starts at 9 a.m. in the show arena, the small animal sale at 5:30 p.m.

Elliott’s Amusements provides rides afternoons and there are many food concessions and game booths to get some fair food and test your skills along the midway.

The Expo Center opens each day at 11 a.m. with arts and crafts, exhibits and much more.

 

Harness racing it available free Saturday and Sunday starting at noon. The grandstand evening shows this year include Heavyweight State Championship Draft Horse Pulling on Sunday,

Koi Drag Racing in Monday, Unique Motorsports Off Road Derby on Tuesday, Professional Rodeo Wednesday, Truck and Tractor Pulls on Thursday, Unique Motorsports Demolition Derby Friday and Michigan State Fair Super Cross Saturday.

 

Be sure to visit the birthing tent along with the exhibits in the barns and Expo Center. Golf carts and drivers are available for those who choose to ride to the various activities.

For a complete listing of events and times, visit www.barryexpocenter.com

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New shooting range being considered for Yankee Springs Township

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is inviting you to visit the Barry State Game Area during an open house Wednesday, July 10, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Game Area Headquarters, 1805 South Yankee Springs Road, Middleville

 

Area managers will discuss game area management activities, including updates on shooting range improvements and development. Handouts and maps with more information about the game area will be available.

 

The DNR is considering development of a new shooting range in the game area on Chief Noonday Road and is looking forward citizen input on range needs and design.

 

 

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UPDATE: Freeport woman dies from injuries in July 4 crash

UPDATE: Lori A. Russell, 52,  of Freeport, the driver of the Dodge Caravan in a crash yesterday, died today as a result of the injuries sustained in the crash. The investigation continues into the incident.

 

ORIGINAL STORY:

Barry County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a serious injury two-car crash on Eckert Road near Wood School Road on July 4 at 2:14 p.m., according to a sheriff’s news release.

 

The initial investigation shows a Dodge Caravan was traveling east on Eckert Road as a Dodge Journey was traveling north on Wood School Road. The driver of the Journey failed to stop at a stop sign, crashing into the Caravan occupied by a 52-year-old Freeport woman.

 

The Journey was occupied by a 55-year-old man and three women, ages 48, 53 and 54, all from Battle Creek. The Freeport woman was air lifted to an area hospital. The occupants of the Journey were all transported to area hospitals by ambulance. No names have been released by the sheriff’s office as yet.

 

Freeport Fire Department, Thornapple Township Emergency Services, Mercy Ambulance, Aero Med, Michigan State Police and Barry County Central Dispatch assisted deputies.

 

Deputies William Romph, Richelle Spencer, Scott Ware and Jeremiah Kimbel investigated the crash; Sgt. Thomas Heald issued the release.

 

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Heat buckles Highway

Westbound traffic leaving Hastings on Highway M-37 M-43 was interrupted Wednesday afternoon when temperatures reached into the upper 80s that may have caused a portion of the road to buckle in front of a Dollar store near Walmart.

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Area fireworks displays to celebrate America's independence

The Algonquin Lake Community Association will offer a fireworks show at dusk at Algonquin Lake on Wednesday, July 3.

 

The Hastings City Band will perform a Tribute to America on Wednesday evening, July 3 at 8pm at Thornapple Plaza in Hastings. The concert will be followed by fireworks.

 

On Thursday, July 4 in Middleville, family activities start at 6pm at the AYSO soccer fields followed by fireworks at dusk.

 

Gun Lake State Park will hold fireworks at around 10:20pm on Saturday, July 6.

 

Barlow Lake is having a fireworks show Saturday, July 6th.

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Jon Otis Burnett to get forensic diagnosis on competency to stand trial in double homicide

Jon Otis Burnett, 63, charged with a double homicide in June, made a brief court appearance in 56th District Court today (Wednesday).

 

Barry County Prosecutor Julie-Nakfoor Pratt asked Judge Michael Skipper for time to schedule a forensic diagnosis to determine if Burnett is competent to stand trial.

Pending the outcome of the examination, he is tentatively scheduled to go to trail the first week in September.

 

Nakfoor-Pratt also asked that the no-contact order between Burnett and his wife Lynn be amended to allow contact between the two if he wasn’t aggressive or coercive.

Lynn Burnett asked for the change so she could contact him about household matters that come up.

 

Schipper said since it would be to her benefit, he would allow contact by letter, phone or jail visit, but warned Jon Burnett if he showed any assaultive or intimidating behavior the contacts would stop immediately as well as all other jail privileges, except contact with his attorney.

 

Burnett was arrested in connection with a double homicide in Orangeville Township on June 21. He is accused of shooting his neighbor, Gary L. Peake, 73, and Bryce Nathan DeGood, 21, of Haslett, and assaulting his wife by strangulation earlier in the day.

 

Burnett, facing two open murder charges, assault by strangulation, felonious assault and felony firearm charges, is being held on $10 million bond. Open murder is a felony punishable by life in prison.

Nakfoor Pratt represents the State of Michigan; Attorney Steven Storrs is representing Burnett.

 

 

 

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Gun Lake Tribe hosts 5th Annual Sweet Grass Moon Pow Wow July 13-14

The Gun Lake Tribe of Pottawatomi Indians is inviting the public to the Sweet Grass Moon Pow Wow on Saturday July 13, from 1 p.m.to 10 p.m. and Sunday, July 14 from noon to 5:30 p.m.

 

The free event is at Jijak Camp, 2044 126th Avenue in Hopkins; take the entrance off 126th Avenue.

 

The Sweet Grass Moon Pow Wow is a cultural celebration of Pottawatomi traditions, dance and songs. Jijak Camp is a sprawling cultural center that features a beautiful pow wow arena, cabins, lakes, a community center and much more. Native American vendors from across the Great Lakes region will offer native foods, arts, and jewelry.

 

Pictures and video may be taken during the event unless otherwise announced by the emcee. Security at the alcohol and drug-free event is provided by the Gun Lake Tribe Public Safety Department.

No pets are allowed, unless they are service pets and parents or adults must accompany children under 12.

 

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Man dies in single vehicle, single occupant crash in Cheshire Township, Allegan County

A man in his 70’s died in a single car crash shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 1 in the area of 108th Avenue and 38th Street in Cheshire Township in Allegan County, according to an Allegan County Sheriff’s news release.

 

The victim’s name is not being released until next of kin are notified. According to a witness, the vehicle was traveling westbound on 108th  Avenue and crossed the center line, riding along the ditch on the south side of the roadway. 

 

The vehicle continued down the ditch into the wooded area striking several trees coming to a stop approximately 40 feet off the roadway. There was no braking throughout the incident, the release said.

 

The crash remains under investigation. Police say neither alcohol or speed appear to be a factor. Bloomingdale Fire Department and Life EMS assisted sheriff’s deputies on scene.

 

 

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Wayland police investigate suspected drug, sex trafficking ring

Monday, July 1, Wayland police executed a search and seizure warrant in the 600 block of East Maple Street in the city to obtain evidence of a suspected sex trafficking ring and drug crimes, according to a Wayland Police Department news release.

 

Officers seized suspected drug paraphernalia and drugs believed to be cocaine and heroin. 

Numerous electronic devices were seized that contain suspected evidence of drug and sex crime violations, as well as information on additional potential suspects.

 

The electronic devices will be sent to the MSP Computer Crimes Unit for examination.

The investigation has been on-going since October 2018, gathering evidence from as far back as 2017. As evidence of suspected crimes was collected, the Michigan State Police and FBI were brought in to assist Wayland police with the investigation, the news release said

 

The search warrant is not the end of the investigation as numerous other leads have been generated by the seized evidence; the investigation continues and charges are pending. The Wayland police thanked the MSP, the FBI and the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance. 

 

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Barry County Drain Commission limits its response to public's questions

At Tuesday’s Barry County Commission meeting, Drain Commissioner Jim Dull announced changes in the way the department will respond to questions from the public in the future.

 

He said questioners can file a Freedom of Information Act request for specific information and they will get an estimate of the cost for the documents. Or, they can pay engineer Brian Cenci or attorney Doug Kelly’s regular fees to talk to them.

However, his department will set up a webpage on the county website for frequently asked questions on drain projects,

 

“Because we’re at a point where because of legalities any questions we’re taking in, we have to answer them very specifically after that suit that we were filed against, so anything we do now is going through the attorney and engineers so we’re not going to answer any more public comments or questions.

 

“They have the choice of doing a FOIA request, we will give them a cost estimate and they will pay for this information or Doug Kelly and Brian Cenci have both agreed if some residents have questions, and they are willing to pay Doug and Brian’s hourly wage, they will drive down here and meet with them at their convenience.

 

“It’s not fiscally responsible for us to be answering public questions on district monies and that’s exactly what we’ve been doing and it’s gonna stop right here.

 

“So, if anyone has any other questions, either FOIA them or contact the commissioners to send them on. We don’t have a problem talking to commissioners because they weed out 90 percent of them.”

 

Dull also reported that in conjunction with MDOT and the EGLE, they are pumping water off M-43 into Cloverdale Lake and from there into Long Lake.

 

“Our pumps are set at 800 gallon a minute of M-43 and 900 gallons a minute out of Cloverdale Lake so we don’t add any problems to the people in Cloverdale Lake,” he said.

Also, he explained why the Crooked Lake project is a drain district project instead of a special assessment lake project. Lake levels are set by the courts and they are directed by them; drains are directed by petitions and they got a drain petition; not a lake level petition. “We have to follow the statuary obligations of the office,” he said.

 

Basic information on FOIA requests:

Written and e-mail FOIA requests go to the organization’s FOIA administrator. The request should be very specific to the information sought.

A

government agency must answer the request within five business days, they may deny it, or ask for an additional 10 days to respond. Not answering is considered a denial and appealed as such.

 

Updated law limits the fee to 10 cents a page, with higher rates allowed on some records items like birth and death certificates, deeds and land records.

 

Employee labor fees, supposed to be the exception rather than the rule, should be set by the lowest paid employee who can do the work; for example a clerk in a law office should copy a paper instead of the lawyer.

 

A good faith deposit, generally 50 percent of the bill, may be asked. If a request is denied, the seeker can ask a judge to force the organization to hand over the public record requested.

For details on FOIA, visit

https://www.michigan.gov/documents/ag/FOIA_Pamphlet_380084_7.pdf

 

 

 

 

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Commission on Aging funding for a new building gets another look

Repairing the leaking roof on the Commission on Aging building for $25,750 by True Colors Industrial, with funds to come from the Building Rehabilitation Fund was recommended by the County Commission’s committee of the whole Tuesday.

 

COA Executive Director Tammy Pennington said a sealed system roof was needed to repair the 18 year roof that leaks the entire length of the building except the main room.

“We really, truly, have reached the point where we have to do something,” she said.

 

The COA is a county building and the cost should come from county funds, the agenda request reads. The board voted for the emergency fix despite reservations of Commissioner Jon Smelker.

“We put roofs on Charlton Park, now the COA; can other county buildings be repaid if they paid it for a roof out of their fund balance?...(County entities) that get millage are not taking care of their buildings, not repairing roofs when they have a fund balance," Smelker said.

 

Mixed in the discussion was a request from Commissioner Ben Geiger to pay for the roof but also direct Administrator Michael Brown to, “do some research and find out if there is a way to finance a new COA building without millage, using existing reserves, bonds or USDA loans.”

 

Geiger said they know the COA building is falling apart, the roofs have been leaking for years, and they have options for a new COA. “I don’t want to put any more money into the money pit…We’ve done a ton of this work already…we need to look at county resources and see what it would cost without millage…give our taxpayers a break...Michael can research the financial impact on the COA and the county.”

 

“We can get by for the next two or three years and look at all options, with no promises made to you on my part,” Commissioner Dan Parker said.

 

The roof is guaranteed against leaks for 12 years, with an option for an inspection and another 12 years of warranty. According to the bid, the work will, “stop the current degradation of the roof, seal and eliminate leaks with a flexible and seamless multi-layer system, reduce thermal shock and pay for itself in energy savings alone.”

 

In other business Tuesday, the committee of the whole recommended the full board approve:

 

*buying a 2020 Lund Model 1800 Alaskan with a 90 h.p. Mercury outboard motor and Trailmaster trailer for the Barry County Sheriff’s Office Marine Division. It would replace a 2001 Lund boat, 90 h.p. Mercury motor and trailer to be sold by sealed bid. The 18-year-old boat and trailer have so many deficiencies that it is considered the “last resort” for use by the marine division staff, Undersheriff Matt Houchlei said.

 

The new boat includes a boat cover, battery, tie downs, horn fire extinguisher, spare tire and prop. The lowest of three bids was Sportfisherman’s Center of Muskegon for $25,128 to come from the Vehicle Fund.

 

Since the 2001 boat was paid for by a DNR grant, the sale proceeds must be used for marine interests; it will go into its account to upgrade and buy marine equipment, Houchlei said.

 

* changes and additions to the Barry County Information Technology Security Policy written about 10 years ago and last updated in 2017, as requested by IT Director David Shinavier.  Included in Version7.0 are policies on disaster recovery procedures, security awareness training, use of information technology resources and changes to Appendix A.

 

*new office furniture and floor mat for the Specialty Courts Office and office dividers for the Family Division clerical staff for $17,766.46. Tammi Price, program manager of the Adult Specialty Courts, said the Trial Court was granted up to $33,000 to replace old and worn furniture from the Capital Replacement Fund 2019 budget. Much of the furniture are from when it was substance abuse office with paint chipping, dents and chips in desks with drawers that don’t close, Price said. Also, it will allow for more storage space, and rearrangement of the reception area for better interaction with the public.

 

*the purchase  of a 2019 GMC Terrain to replace a like vehicle totaled in an accident on June 20 through MiDeal requested by Jan Otto, deputy trial court administrator. The county’s insurer, Michigan Municipal Risk Management Authority, will pay the county $25,000 for the damaged vehicle, plus $2,300 for salvage, with both checks going into the county’s account. No money is requested; it is anticipated that the insurance settlement will pay for a new vehicle.

 

Also, appointing delegate officers and alternates to attend the MERS conference in October will wait until next week when Commissioner Conner will be present.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Barry County Commission hears proposal from internet broadband supplier

Kevin Schoen, CEO of ACD.net gave a presentation on how his company could apply for part of a $20 million state grant to provide broadband internet service to underserved areas of Barry County and if successful, bring fiber optic broadband to an area of the county.

In answer to commissioner’s questions, Schoen outlined the process.

 

The grant allows the private sector to apply for the competitive state subsidy with a 10 percent or more match, they haven’t determined what their match would be, Schoen said. The grant application is due in Aug.30.

 

Criteria for residents to receive service paid for by the grant must be receiving less than 10 megabits per second from their current service.

The City of Hastings would not qualify since its broadband service is faster than 10 megabits a second and considered adequate. ACD.net sent letters to 5,700 potential subscribers, as well as ads on Facebook and Google, to see what broadband they have; a requirement of the grant. Some 600 residents responded.

 

 A cost analysis on a section will determine if they ask for grants for that section, followed by engineering and design work and obtaining permits, then construction in phases. It will take two to four weeks to install “the backbone infrastructure,” they will sign up residents and then do the hookups, he said. He’s hopeful the state will offer $20 million a year in grants for more area coverage of more underserved areas every year.

 

Schoen said the average cost for infrastructure installation to each residence would roughly be around $3,000.

“Would the $3,000 cost be passed on,” Commissioner David Jackson asked.

Schoen said if they serviced 1,000 homes at $3,000 each, average, the company might gamble 20 percent of its own money, would show they have $600,000 allocated for it, “and the government makes up the other $2.4 million dollars.”

 

“Now, we may have installation charges to the house that could cost anywhere from $150 to $300 or $500, but mostly we want to make that as low as possible because we know that it’s an economic impediment to getting broadband.”

 

The service delivers 1,000 megabits per second for a monthly fee of $59.95, and fiber lasts 50 years with the speeds unlimited, he said. The preferred installation method is using or installing utility poles, but they will go underground if they have to, as required in housing subdivisions.

 

His company has won earlier grants to underserved areas. In 2005 to 2008 for $12 million and in 2012, $40 million for a number of smaller counties, he said. Schoen was invited to the meeting by Commissioner Dan Parker who said the Barry County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Authority has been working behind the scenes and other companies should also make presentations to the commissioners.

 

Schoen said he has the support of State Senator John Bizon and State Rep. Julie Calley. Commissioners offered to supply a resolution of support for the company when he requests it.

“That would be useful and helpful to us,” he said.

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Operation Dry Water

As boaters begin to prepare for the 4th of July holiday, thousands of law enforcement officers across the United States will be on heightened alert looking for those violating boating under the influence laws. Law enforcement agencies will be focused on educating boaters about safe boating practices, which includes keeping alcohol off the boat for both operators and passengers. The Barry County Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and the U.S. Coast Guard, will be participating in the national Operation Dry Water heightened awareness and enforcement weekend, July 5 – 7, 2019.

 

The Barry County Sheriff’s Office is working to increase boater awareness of the dangers and risks associated with boating under the influence and will be on the lookout for impaired boaters. Boaters will notice an overall increase in officer patrols both on the water and at recreational boating checkpoints. The priority during this holiday weekend is to provide boaters with a safe and enjoyable experience by removing dangerous and impaired boaters from the waterways.

 

“Every year, we see boating accidents and tragedies that could have been avoided, had alcohol or drug use not been a factor. As part of the community ourselves, our job is to ensure that recreational boaters, paddlers and anyone on our waters has a safe place to enjoy time with their family and friends,” says Sheriff Dar Leaf. “Alcohol use can impair a boater’s judgement, balance, vision and reaction time. That is why the Barry County Sheriff’s Office is joining all 56 states and U.S. territories to do our part in keeping boaters safe and preventing accidents related to boating under the influence.”

 

Operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal on all bodies of water and can lead to serious injuries and consequences. In Michigan, it is illegal to operate a vessel with a BAC level of .08 or higher - the same as it is to operate a vehicle. The Barry County Sheriff’s Office reminds boaters to always boat sober and wear a life jacket when on the water this year.

 

Operation Dry Water is a year-round boating under the influence awareness and enforcement campaign with the mission of reducing the number of alcohol and drug related accidents and fatalities through increased recreational boater awareness and by fostering a stronger and more visible deterrent to alcohol and drug use on the water.


Visit operationdrywater.org for more information about boating under the influence.

 

*2017 U.S. Coast Guard Recreational Boating Statistics.

 

CONTACT: Sgt Steve Lehman, Barry County Sheriff’s Office

 

 

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Fatal Accident in Middleville

The Barry County Sheriff’s Office investigated a single vehicle fatal crash Monday evening on Garbow Rd near Ashley Lane, in Thornapple Township.

 

The investigation showed a passenger car was traveling westbound on Garbow Road and ran off the roadway and collided into a tree. The 18-year-old female driver was ejected from the vehicle and located near the scene of the crash. The driver was the only occupant in the vehicle. The driver was identified as Alisabeth Swanson from Middleville.  It does not appear alcohol was a factor in the crash.

 

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State Police: Make Safe Driving Decisions this Fourth of July

The Michigan State Police (MSP) is reminding motorists to make safe driving a priority during the upcoming Fourth of July holiday. Troopers will be on the roads, joining their counterparts from across the country in the international traffic safety initiative, Operation C.A.R.E. (Crash Awareness and Reduction Efforts) to reduce or eliminate traffic fatalities and injuries.

 

“Help make this holiday enjoyable for everyone who is using Michigan’s roads,” said Col. Joe Gasper, director of the MSP. “We know that wearing a seatbelt can save your life; buckle up every single timeand never get behind the wheel after drinking.”

 

The official Fourth of July holiday period begins at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, July 3, and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, July 5;however, troopers will continue this traffic safety focus through Sunday, July 7. Last year, six fatal traffic crashes resulted in seven deaths over the Fourth of July holiday.

 

Operation C.A.R.E. began in 1977 as a collaborative effort between the MSP and Indiana State Police, and is one of the nation’s longest-running traffic safety initiatives. It focuses on deterring the three main causes of highway fatalities: aggressive driving, impaired driving and failure to use occupant restraints.

 

State police and highway patrol agencies from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Ontario Provincial Police, Quebec Police Force and the U.S. Virgin Islands will be participating in this lifesaving traffic safety initiative. Operation C.A.R.E. also includes participation from police agencies affiliated with the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). 

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