Local News Archives for 2020-02

Coronavirus Quarantine Center


In an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus the Fort Custer Guard Training Center near Battle Creek has been chosen as a backup facility to quarantine patients should the need arise.


The U.S. Department of Defense  selected 11 military bases throughout the country that would  hold up to 20 people for quarantine observation.

Major General Paul Rogers, Director of Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, said,

"To-date we have no anticipation of a need for that facility."

Hastings Four Theater ?


With the Goodrich Quality Theaters heading into bankruptcy  the question now is, what's the future for the Hastings Four Theater, one of 29 theaters owned by the Goodrich Company in Grand Rapids.

It's likely the company will sell off most of the 29 theaters to pay off $30 millions in debts.

Company President Robert Goodrich said,  "The big question is, what would be the sale price?

That is obviously a concern because in bankruptcy  the value of the company has been deteriorated."

Caledonia High School


Students across Michigan including Caledonia High School will be heading to a robotics world championship in April.

A total of 18 high school teams qualified for the 2020 VEX Robotics World Games in Louisville, Kentucky on April 22nd.

The Caledonia High School team earned a spot based on their performance at the state cahmpionships.

Matching Skills with Interests Get Results for MCTI Students

Individuals with Disabilities Benefit from Michigan Career and Technical Institute's

Student-Focused Approach


It had been nearly two hours since the graduates crossed the stage, but Johnathan Perchikoff still proudly sported his cap and gown.


“I’m the first member of my family, on my mom’s side, to go to college, so it’s an exciting time for all of us,” Perchikoff beamed, adjusting the yellow tassel dangling from his green mortar cap.


“I love this place.”


“This place” is Michigan Career and Technical Institute (MCTI), an educational center for adults with disabilities in southwest Barry County on Pine Lake. MCTI’s individualized career assessment services help students explore job options. Perchikoff and 146 of his classmates had just celebrated their accomplishments during MCTI’s Winter Graduation on February 7, an event that happened to align perfectly with Career and Technical Education Month in Michigan.


Career and technical education provides students with an opportunity to learn the skills needed for in-demand careers in a variety of fields and prepares students to become lifelong learners.


MCTI is operated by Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS), which is part of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. MCTI has 13 training programs, each with an active advisory committee made up of people who work in that industry and help ensure the school’s curriculum and equipment meet business standards and needs.


“Our goal is to increase access to success in achieving a postsecondary credential and overcoming barriers to employment," MCTI Director Paul Mulka said. "That mission also aligns with Governor Whitmer’s goals. We’re proud of the work we do here – we make a very real difference in people’s lives.”


Case in point: Matthew Johnston, who received his certification in Machine Technology.


“I first heard about MCTI through MRS and our high school staff, and they thought it would be a good fit for me,” said Johnston, who graduated from Clarenceville High School in Livonia before enrolling in MCTI.


“I took the placement exam that all new students take at MCTI, and it said I qualified for several different trades,” he said. “You have a lot of options here, but you have to love what you do, and that’s why I decided to focus on CNC (computer numerically controlled) machines. I love that technology.”


Jeff Gagnon, MCTI’s Machine Tech Instructor, agreed with Johnston’s self-assessment. “It takes tireless dedication and commitment to be successful at any level, and Matt and the other graduates definitely demonstrated that,” he said. “We help connect students with their skills and interests.”


The second-largest rehabilitation training center in the country, MCTI strives to promote the integration of Michiganders with disabilities into both the competitive workplace and society.


Students can enroll in technical training programs in automotive technology, cabinet making/millwork, certified nurse assistant, commercial printing, construction, culinary arts, and many others.


“Once you select your career path, MCTI does a great job of matching up students with companies so you can get work experience to go along with what you’re learning in the classroom,” Johnston said. “I’ve been working at Schupan & Sons in Kalamazoo. They’re a great company. They’ve been really helpful, and I’ve gotten some great compliments from my supervisor.


“They offered me the chance to work there after graduation, so I’m really excited about that.”


Johnathan Perchikoff, still wearing his cap and gown, earned his MCTI degree in Culinary Arts.


“I’m from the Old Redford part of Detroit, so moving out to the west side of the state was a big change, but it was really worth it,” he said.


While attending MCTI, Perchikoff gained valuable professional experience working in food service at Gun Lake Casino. “Gun Lake is a great place to be, and they’ve offered me a job after graduation,” he said. “I’m very excited, and I’m very thankful.


“If someone asked me if they should go to MCTI, I would say yes,” said Perchikoff, readjusting the tassel on his graduation cap. “You owe it to yourself to check it out. I don’t think there’s any place like it.”


Learn more about MCTI by visiting

City of Hastings hosting "Ask the Expert" Master Plan Forum

The City of Hastings has invited Robert Gibbs, President of Gibbs Planning Group of Birmingham, Michigan to speak at a public forum discussion on Tuesday, March 3 from 5:30 to 7:30pm at the Walldorff ballroom on retail and business growth strategies for the city.


Gibbs, who is an urban retail specialist, has advised and planned for over 1,000 cities and new towns around the world and has authored numerous books and articles including “Principles for Urban Retail”.


Rebecca Harvey of McKenna Associates, who consults with the city on planning and economic development, said she is excited to have Gibbs in Hastings. “People are really going to want to hear him, they’ll find him very interesting”.


Robert Gibbs was recently named one of the 100 most influential urbanists of the century.

Goodrich Quality Theaters File for Bankruptcy

Goodrich Quality Theaters of Grand Rapids, owners of the Hastings Four theater in Hastings filed for bankruptcy this week in a U.S Bankruptcy Court in Grand Rapids. 


A show cause hearing is set for Wednesday, March 4 where the company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company  owns some 30 theaters in five states.


Assets  are estimated at 50 to 100 million dollars, liabilities between 10 and 50 million dollars.

The Goodrich Company owes  money to between 50 and 99 creditors.

Fatal Crash - Ionia County

Deputies with the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched Wednesday morning to a two-vehicle head on crash on East David Highway between Kelsey Highway and 40 Acre Town Road in Orange Township. 


An eastbound Chrysler minivan driven by a 42 year old Ionia woman lost control on the snowy roadway and crossed the centerline, colliding with a westbound Oldsmobile Aurora driven by a 64 year old Portland man who had a 64 year old female passenger in the front seat. 


The collision resulted in persons needing to be extricated from their vehicles by the Berlin-Orange Fire Department before being transported from the scene by Life EMS to the Sparrow Ionia Hospital. 


The 64 year old female passenger of the Oldsmobile was ultimately transported to Sparrow Main in Lansing, but died shortly after arrival. She is being identified as Judith McCausey Nye, 64, of Portland MI. 


The names of the drivers of the two vehicles are not being released at this time, pending further investigation of the accident by Ionia County Sheriff’s Office Accident Investigators, and review by the Ionia County Prosecutor’s Office. 

No Millage Proposal for COA,  Ad Hoc Committee Created

A letter to County Commissioners from Sandy Kozan, Chairperson of the Board of Directors for the Barry County Commission On Aging, said that at their February 20th meeting the COA Directors approved a motion requesting the Board of Commissioners find a way to fund a new COA building without putting a millage vote on the ballot.


The letter indicated that although there has been widespread support for a new COA facility and a new Jail, the COA Board has also heard the reluctance from taxpayers to pay for additional millage.


At Barry County community discussion forums hosted by the Board of Commissioners, options were presented by Tower Pinkster, the project management firm, ranging from renovating and adding on to the current COA facility for an estimated $3.78 million, to building a new, larger facility on a new site for an estimated $8.33 million that likely would be funded through the sale of bonds with a millage request that could appear on the ballot in August.


Now, Commissioners will be looking for solutions to replace the current COA facility without asking for more taxes, if possible.


Taxpayers will still have to decide whether they will fund a new Jail and Sheriff’s Office. Tower Pinkster presented project options and estimates at the community forums ranging from $21.8 to $28.5 million depending on the location and number of beds.


At the Tuesday, Feb. 25th Board of Commissioners meeting, approval was given to creating an Ad Hoc Committee to “study the COA services, funding, and facilities in other counties as compared to the Barry County COA and report back to the Board of Commissioners within six months.”

Heart Health Month includes children, too

February is American Heart Health Month. Traditionally this month raises awareness of heart health and urges adults to make health choices to prevent heart disease. This year, Barry-Eaton District Health Department (BEDHD) is focusing on helping children with heart conditions lead healthy lives.


Congenital heart defects (CHDs) are the most common types of birth defects. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one million children are living with a congenital heart defect. A 2016 study found that compared to children without a heart condition, children with a heart condition were more likely to have special health care needs; including medication needs, physical or speech therapy, and treatment for developmental or behavioral problems. Children's Special Health Care Services (CSHCS) can help families with these special health care needs.


CSHCS, a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) program, coordinates and pays for specialty health care for children and some adults with special health care needs.  Eligibility for CSHCS is based on the child’s medical condition rather than income. More than 2,700 chronic medical conditions are eligible for CSHCS coverage, including asthma, cancer, cerebral palsy, cleft palate, liver disease, limb abnormalities, certain vision disorders, paralysis or spinal injuries, cystic fibrosis, hemophilia, insulin-dependent diabetes, muscular dystrophy, certain heart conditions, epilepsy, and kidney disease. In addition to having a qualifying medical condition, the child must live in Michigan and be under the age of 21 to qualify. There is a sliding-scale fee to join CSHCS that is based on family income and family size. If the client has Medicaid or MIChild insurance or has a court-appointed guardian or is in foster care, this fee is waived.


Children’s Special Health Care Services can assist children with special health care needs and their families by:

  • Paying for specialty medical bills, and covering co-pays and deductibles
  • Covering qualifying travel expenses
  • Helping find specialty services
  • Supporting coordination of services
  • Helping families with language and cultural differences
  • Assisting in locating resources
  • Connecting families to community-based services through local health departments


BEDHD is an advocate for CSHCS and provides services to eligible residents in Barry and Eaton counties. For more information on the types of diagnoses covered or the services CSHCS provides visit or call (269) 798-4115 (Barry County) or (517) 541-2696 (Eaton County).


The Hastings Fire Department was called to a house fire on Powell Road and Meadow Lane Monday morning.


According to the report the building was abandoned.




Petitioners looking for changes to Groundwater Discharge limits in Southwest Barry County

The Southwest Barry County Sewer and Water Authority will meet in Delton, Tuesday, February 25th at 6:30pm. One of the discussions is likely to be a petition by resident Larry Osborne and others to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) requesting that a public hearing be held before issuing a new ground water discharge permit to the Southwest Barry County Sewer and Water System. The current permit that was issued five years ago expires at the end of 2020.


Osborne contacted WBCH saying petition supporters hope to convince EGLE to reduce the permit from the current 1,000,000 gallon per day limit to 500,000 gallons per day. His goal for lowering the limit would be to try to prevent the Sewer Authority from adding more new end users to the system.


Plans have been underway for two years to connect the Gilmore Car Museum to the Southwest Barry County Sewer & Water system.


Osborne claims the ground water discharge from the system ends up in the Watson Drain District which is already plagued by flooding. He argues the additional water not only contributes to the flooding problem but also to the assessment cost of residents in the Watson Drain District for mitigation.

Little's Country Store Robbed

Barry County Sheriff Deputies with a K9 Dog tracked down three robbers in connection to a burglary early Saturday morning at Little's Country Store on Thornapple Lake road east of Hastings.


Just after 12:30 am deputies arrived to find the front door of the store open and two suspects wearing masks ran from the store with about $900 dollars in cash. Shortly there after deputies found the three suspects in a nearby home and recovered the money and took the three to jail.


A little over a month ago an armed robbery to place at the same store. This incident is not  related to the previous armed robbery in January.

Register to Vote in the Michigan Presidential Primary

Michigan’s Presidential Primary Election is Tuesday, March 10th,  but the deadline to register online or by mail is this Monday, February 24th.  After that, you can register in person at your county, city, or township clerk's office or any Secretary of State branch office through Monday, March 9th.


Recent changes in election law will also permit same-day registration on election day, but make sure you check ahead of time to find out what you will need to bring with you.


The deadline to request an absentee ballot for the Presidential Primary is Friday, March 6th.

Death Investigation, Allegan County

Troopers from the Michigan State Police Wayland Post and the Michigan State Police Grand Rapids Forensic Laboratory responded to the 6000 blk of Forest Beach Drive in Laketown Township in Allegan County, for the report of a death that occurred on Tuesday, February 18th at approximately 10:30pm.


Further investigation into the death is currently pending.

Weight Restrictions on County Roads

Barry, Ionia, Montcalm and Kent Counties road weight restrictions will go into effect Monday, February, 24th, 2020 at 6:00a.m. 

Barry County Community Dialogue in Middleville Regarding the Jail & Commission On Aging

The Barry County Board Commissioner is holding a Community Dialogue Forum tonight, Tuesday, February 18th, at Thornapple Kellogg Middle School , Green Lake Road, Middleville at 7pm. 


The purpose of this event is to provide information and discussion regarding a potential millage election this coming August.  The discussion will be facilitated by Tower Pinkster of Kalamazoo on the topics of the current use and condition of the Barry County Jail and Sheriff's Office and the current use and condition of the Commission on Aging facility in Hastings.


Anyone with questions can contact the County Administration at 269-945-1284. A quorum of the Board of Commissioners may be present..

Felon with Gun

Hasting Police Officers arrested a Hastings individual for pointing a gun at a vehicle that entered his driveway claiming the driver was not permitted to park there.  A child was in the vehicle at the time of the incident.


The individual with the gun, who is now in the Barry County Jail, was arrested for felonious assault and  being a felon in possession of a firearm. He has two prior felony convictions for home invasion and a felony assault.


Hastings Police also investigated the theft of cash from a locked box at St.Rose Church in Hastings.

Church officials said the individual drilled a large hole in the box and took out the money.

Animal abuse case

The Allegan County Sheriff’s Office responded to an animal abuse complaint that occurred on February 6, near the 400 block of 124th Avenue in Wayland Township.  Witnesses described a Silver Honda Odyssey van throwing six Chihuahua dogs out the passenger window.  The witness stated five of the six Chihuahuas died at the scene while one survived. 


The surviving Chihuahua, pictured here, has been named Lucky Lu Lu.


Undersheriff Mike Larsen said the suspects are described as a white female passenger in her 20’s-30’s, very skinny, missing teeth, with blonde hair; and, second suspect is a white male driver in his 20-30’s, very skinny, missing teeth, with dark longer hair that was described as “big curly hair”.


Anyone with information related to this case is asked to contact the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office at 269-673-3899 or Allegan County Silent Observer at 1-800-554-3633.


Three fire departments: Orangeville, Prairieville and Delton, were called to a house fire shortly before 5:00 o'clock this Wednesday morning. The house fire was on McKibben road in Orangeville Township.

No other information available at this time. 

February 12th is Student Count Day

Schools throughout the area have been reminding parents to make sure their students arrive on time and are in school for the entire day, especially this Wednesday, February 12th for winter Count Day.


All public schools in Michigan count the number of students attending their schools twice a year, in October and February.  Count information is critical to school districts, because each student translates into state funding.  The calculation of funds that schools receive is based on a blend of both winter and fall student count data during the same calendar year.

Barry County Community Dialogue events regarding Jail & Commission on Aging

The Barry County Board Commissioner is holding two more Community Dialogue Events in February.  This Thursday, February 13th a forum will be held at 7:00-pm  at Johnstown Township Hall,  13641 South M-37 Highway. There will also be a forum at Thornapple Kellogg Middle School pm Green Lake Road, Middleville at 7pm on Tuesday, February 18th.


The purpose of the events is to provide information and discussion regarding a potential millage election this coming August.  The discussion will be facilitated by Tower Pinkster of Kalamazoo on the topics of the current use and condition of the Barry County Jail and Sheriff's Office and the current use and condition of the Commission on Aging facility in Hastings.


Anyone with questions can contact the County Administration at 269-945-1284. A quorum of the Board of Commissioners may be present..

U.S. 131 M-179 Interchange to be Rebuilt


The U.S. 131 interchange to the Gun Lake Casino will be rebuilt according to MDOT and Gun Lake Tribe Officials. Preliminary work at the interchange of U.S. 131 and M-179  will begin this fall with the majority of the work to take place in 2021.


About 95 percent of the project cost, which is estimated at between 20 to 25-million dollars, is being paid for by the Tribe.


MDOT officials as well as Gun Lake Tribal Leaders are hosting a public meeting on the construction Thursday February 13th at the Gun Lake Tribal Administration Building, 2872 Mission Drive in Shelbyville.

Spectrum Health Pennock Family Medicine welcomes new provider

Spectrum Health Pennock is pleased to announce the addition of Patrick Hite, PA-C to Spectrum Health Pennock Family Medicine – Lake Odessa, located on M-50 near downtown Lake Odessa.


This addition allows for greater access to care for area residents. Hite, a board-certified physician assistant, earned his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Northwestern Michigan University and his master’s degree in physician assistant studies from Western Michigan University.


“Working in a smaller community allows providers to better connect with the patients and the families we serve. The nice thing about being in a smaller town is that you get to know your neighbors and residents of the community. Interactions become personal allowing us to provide care on a more meaningful level for the patient and the provider,” stated Angela Ditmar, president and regional leader, Spectrum Health Pennock.


Hite, a provider for over ten years, grew up in a small town in the upper peninsula, much like Lake Odessa. Growing up in an Air Force family, Hite took pride in serving our country as a Captain in the U.S. Force Civil Air Patrol, helping cadets achieve their educational and career goals by giving them military-style educational and leadership opportunities. Hite has three children, “two are in aircraft mechanic school now and one is working his way up the food chain to become a chef,” Hite proudly stated. In his free time, he enjoys anything outdoors and traveling in northern Michigan.  


Five providers make up the robust team at Spectrum Health Pennock Family Medicine – Lake Odessa; including Laurie Braker, MD, Lee Stuart, MD, Patrick Hite, PA-C, Zachary Jones, PA-C and Erica Nyman, PA-C. The Lake Odessa facility also providers laboratory and radiology services

Barry County Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development Alliance selects new president

Jennifer Heinzman has been named as the new president of Barry County’s Economic Development Alliance and Chamber of Commerce. 


Heinzman, 46, was selected by the chamber board from more than 70 candidates. She brings several years of experience with her, having served as executive director of the Clare area Chamber of Commerce from 2006 to 2011,  and as executive director of the Mecosta County Chamber of Commerce based in Big Rapids from 2011 to 2019. She replaces Travis Alden, who left the post last November for an opportunity with The Right Place in Grand Rapids.


Heinzman holds a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University in psychology and sociology, and a master’s degree in administration from CMU.


She recently re-located to the Caledonia area with her family, and will begin her new duties on Monday, February 10.

Hickory Corners home invasion, arrest made, items recovered

A trooper from the Michigan State Police Hastings Detachment investigated a home invasion that occurred in the 12000 block of South M-43 Hwy near Hickory Corners on Monday, February 2. Several items, including a number of firearms, were stolen from the residence earlier that day.


Later on Monday, Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety (KDPS) Officers responded to
Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo to investigate a male who stated he was assaulted with a firearm.
During KDPS’s investigation, a vehicle associated with the male was located. During the
impound procedures, officers located a firearm inside the vehicle that had been stolen from the
residence in Barry County earlier that day. It was then discovered that the male went to Bronson
Hospital because he was assaulted while attempting to sell items he had stolen from that

Further investigation led detectives from KDPS and the Michigan State Police to the 1900 Block of Bryant St. in Kalamazoo where they located several items from the Barry County home invasion. The male suspect, a 24-year-old from Kalamazoo, was arrested and lodged at the Barry County Jail on charges related to the home invasion in Barry County.

Anyone having information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Michigan State Police
Wayland Post at 269-792-2213.

Ionia Co. Hunting Accident

On Saturday, February 01, 2020 at approximately 11:30 p.m., Deputies from the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to the 4000 block of W Lincoln Ave in Easton Township for a victim that sustained a single gunshot wound to the hand.


From preliminary investigation it appears that the male was coyote hunting with a couple of his friends. As they were walking back to their vehicle, the suspect’s rifle that was mounted to a tripod, came apart and fell to the ground. The suspect went to grab the gun while it was falling and it discharged.  The victim sustained a single gunshot wound to his left hand. The victim was transported to Butterworth Hospital for non-life threatening injuries.


Assisting the Ionia Sheriff’s Office on scene was Life EMS and Ionia Public Safety.

Ionia County home invasion/stabbing

Sunday morning at approximately 3:40am, Ionia County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to a residence in the 200 block of Pearl Street in the Village of Hubbardston on the report of a Home Invasion resulting in the stabbing of two persons in the home. 


Investigation at the scene determined that a male intruder had entered into the home and was caught and confronted by two persons staying at the home.  The intruder attacked these two people and used a knife to stab and slash causing serious injuries to one victim, and minor injuries to another.  The suspect intruder then fled the residence in an unknown direction.


The description of the suspect is that of a white male, possibly with facial hair and being about 25 to 30 years old with a smaller physical build wearing a brown coat with a hood and baggy jeans.  It is unknown at this time what the motivation for the home invasion was, and also unknown if the suspect used a vehicle. 


The Ionia County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the anyone with information about a possible suspect or anyone who witnessed any suspicious activity in Hubbardston to contact the IOSH via Ionia County Central Dispatch at 616-527-0400. 



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