Local News Archives for 2020-03

April Fool's Day Postponed

Due to Covid-19 restrictions,  April Fools Day has been postponed and might be re-scheduled at a later date.

Anonymous donors "Gift" Barry County first responders, front line staff

Now more than ever we are seeing those in Barry County stepping forward to take care of others.  While we abide by the social distancing regulations and the “Stay Home. Stay Safe.” order set forth by our Governor, we are finding the light coming through the darkness.


That light is shown through anonymous donors who graciously have gifted dollars back in to our community.  Through collaborative efforts, the Barry County United Way has worked with these donors to purchase gift cards to local restaurants which in turn have been given as a “thank you” to our Barry County first responders, front line staff at local organizations, essential workforce employees and others who are fighting the COVID-19 pandemic for our community.


Lani Forbes, Executive Director of the Barry County United Way, “Our community is extremely generous and we are thankful for those who are choosing to support not only our local front-line workers, but also our local small business economy.  The dollars spent on gift cards are going directly back in to restaurants across Barry County to ensure that they can survive this difficult time as well.”


Justin Straube, Owner of Seasonal Grille in Hastings and Culinary Arts Instructor said, “It amazes me on how much a community comes together in time of crisis.  The outpouring of support and generosity blows me away.  This is why I am proud to be a part of our community!”

There will never be enough words or expressions of gratitude that can truly show our thankful we all are for those facing the COVID-19 pandemic, but this is a small way that we can stand together as Barry County residents and support each other during this time.  Please remember to support our local businesses that are continuing to operate in an unconventional manner and remember that with your help, we will all get through this together.


In addition to our local anonymous donors, multiple Barry County church organizations have chosen to support our local restaurants as well by purchasing gift cards and handing them out at the Hastings Fresh Food Initiative program.



Together, the Barry Community Foundation and Barry County United Way established an Emergency Disaster Fund to assist with emergency needs like COVID-19.  If you would like to contribute to this fund, please visit or


If you are in need of emergency services for food, rent, utilities, etc. call 2-1-1 or the Barry County United Way at 269-945-4010.


With millions of Michiganders being asked to stay inside as much as possible and to avoid being within 6-feet of those who do not live in your home, finding activities to do that fit within those guideline is tough.


However, the Department of Natural Resources says fishing is allowed under the current "Stay Home, Stay Safe" Rules.  Remember to stay 6-feet apart, and enjoy your catch.

Lake Odessa Police Department


The lake Odessa Police Departmenmt Sunday announced via Facebook  they would be offering the services of firetrucks and police cars for children in the Lake Odessa area whose birthday falls during  "Stay Home, Stay Safe" and are invited free to direct message DM the station's facebook page with an address and date of the childs birthday.  On that special day, the station will send a firetruck and or a police car to the residence and activate their emergency lights to wish your child  a Happy Birthday.

Breaking and Entering at Al & Pete's Sports Shop



The Hastings Police Department is currently investigating a breaking and entering at Al & Pete’s Sports Shop which occurred around 4am this morning. There were several firearms stolen in this “smash and grab robbery”. The suspect vehicle and suspects were caught on security camera.


Anybody with information is encouraged to contact the Hastings Police Department at 269-945-5744 or Barry County Silent Observer at 800-310-9031.
















Fraud and Scam Alert

With information being released about stimulus checks being received from the Federal Government, the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind everyone about the possibility for frauds and scams to occur.


People behind these scams will attempt to call residents and convince them information such as their Social Security number is required to receive the check. Another scam may be for direct assistance in depositing the check and they will ask for some form of “pre-payment” by having residents purchase pre-paid gift cards.


Scammers typically increase their efforts during times of crises or emergency. Please remember that any unsolicited contact either by phone, or email is to be viewed as suspicious. If you are unsure if the contact is legitimate, consult with family or by calling the Sheriff’s Office or your local police agency.

First positive COVID-19 cases confirmed in Ionia County

Testing has identified Ionia County’s first two positive cases for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).


The first positive case, identified Wednesday, March 25, is a senior woman. That patient is currently hospitalized.  The second person tested positive on Thursday is a senior male who is also currently hospitalized.


Ionia County Health Department is contacting people who have been in close contact with either of those patients. They will be assessed for symptoms and monitored appropriately.


We ask that you please refrain from contacting the Health Department with requests for
additional information. Personal information on patients is protected by Federal Law.


As a precaution, the Ionia County Health Department is asking anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 to
self-isolate for 14 days to avoid potentially exposing others.

Barry County Drivers Receive an "A"


Michigan drivers get an A for doing their part to try to flatten the curve in travel.

In West Michigan Barry and Kent Counties each received an A grade for cutting travel by more than 45 percent.

Kalamazoo and Ingham Counties received an A grade for cutting travel by more ghan 50 percent.

Nationwide by 39 percent.

Spectrum Health Pennock Adds Tent for Future Triage Site

Spectrum Health Pennock is taking additional preparation steps to care for the community and keep patients and team members safe.

Starting March 24, 2020, you will notice a new screening tent outside of Spectrum Health Pennock’s Medical Arts Building. This is part of Pennock Hospital’s emergency preparedness plan, to allow for a designated place to screen patients who suspect they may have COVID-19. The tent is currently not in use. “The screening tent is designed as an extension of Pennock’s emergency department and it will only be utilized if patient volumes become too great for the existing emergency staff to handle within Pennock Hospital,” stated Steve Marzolf, Chief Nursing Officer, Spectrum Health Pennock.


Due to the limited number of tests available across the nation, patients exhibiting symptoms will be screened and either referred to the emergency department or sent home with instructions to care for their symptoms, as well as instructions to self-quarantine. Tests will only be administered to emergency department and in-patients meeting the criteria for testing and who exhibit severe respiratory conditions.


In accordance with the CDC, Spectrum Health recommends those with mild COVID-19 symptoms stay home and self-quarantine.


If you are unsure what to do, please call the COVID-19 screening hotline at 616.391.2380.
For more information about COVID-19, including information on symptoms and prevention, visit

Rep. Calley to host coronavirus update during tele-town hall


State Rep. Julie Calley will host a live tele-town hall update on Thursday, March 26 at 3 p.m. on the coronavirus pandemic in Michigan and what steps are being taken to combat the virus. Joining her on the call will be Anne Klein Barna, the Planning, Promotion, and Evaluations Manager of the Barry-Eaton District Health Department, and Ken Bowen, the Health Officer/Director of Environmental Health of the Ionia County Health Department.


“My duty is to keep you informed, and the challenge we’re facing doesn’t change that,” Calley said. “I appreciate our local health departments partnering with me on this tele-town hall to get reliable information out to the public. I encourage everyone to join the call and ask questions you may have regarding coronavirus.”


Those wishing to join the tele-town hall may call toll-free at (855) 756-7520 and enter ext. 57629# when prompted.


For more information, please contact Rep. Calley’s office at (517) 373-0842 or

The Soo Locks open as 2020 shipping season begins

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, announced the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan opened March 25, marking the beginning of the 2020 Great Lakes shipping season.


The up-bound Motor Vessel H. Lee White, 704-foot long freighter, was the first ship to enter the Poe Lock on it's way from Sturgeon Bay, Michigan to Superior, Wisconsin to load cargo.


The Corps of Engineers is taking precautionary measures to protect its workforce, while also remaining fully operational, leveraging physical distancing, flexible work schedules, telework, technology and virtual meetings to keep projects moving forward.


The locks were officially closed on January 15 and underwent critical repairs and maintenance during the 10 week long winter shutdown.


The Detroit District operates and maintains the Soo Locks along with 81 harbors and connecting channels on lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, St. Clair and the portion of Lake Erie that borders the state of Michigan. Located on the St. Marys River, Michigan, the locks have been a part of the Corps' navigation mission since 1881.

FAQs: How 'Stay at Home' order will be Enforced by MSP

Michigan State Police released the following questions and answers guide regarding the COVID-19 ‘Stay At Home’ Executive Order issued by Governor Gretchen Whitmer:


  1. How will the “Stay Home” Executive Order be enforced?


The order directs Michiganders to stay in their homes unless they’ve been designated as a critical infrastructure employee by their employer, engaged in an outdoor activity while maintaining social distancing, or performing tasks necessary to the health and safety of themselves or their family, like going to the hospital or grocery store.  Executive Order 2020-21 is not a recommendation, it is an order necessary for the health and safety of all Michiganders.


Executive Order 2020-21 was effective on March 24, 2020 at 12:01 am and continues through April 13, 2020 at 11:59 pm.  Under this order, individuals may only leave their home or place of residence under very limited circumstances, and they must adhere to social distancing measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when they do so, including remaining at least six feet from another person when outside the individual’s residence  to the extent feasible under the circumstances.


The goal of this order is simple: stay home, stay safe, and save lives.


  1. Will the MSP be stopping people for being out on the streets and issuing tickets or approaching businesses that appear to still be open?


Executive Order 2020-21 authorizes critical infrastructure workers and persons engaged in an outdoor activity or performing tasks necessary to the health and safety of themselves or their family, to leave their homes for these limited purposes.  For this reason, there are no plans to randomly stop people or to conduct a coordinate campaign to inspect businesses to ensure compliance with this order.  With that said, Executive Orders do carry the weight of law and the MSP stands ready to enforce any aspect of these orders, if needed.  However, given the serious nature of COVID-19, we are confident that Michiganders will take notice and voluntarily comply, as it is in the best interest of the entire state that we all work together to stay home as much as possible.


  1. Is the National Guard enforcing this order?


No. The National Guard is being used for humanitarian missions across the country.  In Michigan, the Michigan National Guard is assisting with ensuring the medical supply chain.


  1. Are the freeways closing?  Will there be checkpoints?


No. Critical infrastructure workers need to be able to fulfill their duties, and Michiganders need to be able to perform tasks necessary to the health of themselves or their family, such as going to the hospital, pharmacy or grocery store.  Law enforcement is hopeful Michiganders will recognize the seriousness of this situation and voluntarily comply with this order. 


  1. Will you be stopping everyone you see?


No. Law enforcement will be visible and prepared to take action if violations are warranted, but  we are optimistic that individuals and businesses will recognize the serious nature of this order and will comply by staying home.


  1. What happens to those caught violating the order?


Executive orders carry the weight of law and violators can face up to a 90-day misdemeanor or up to a $500 fine.  Businesses in regulated industries can also face licensing and other restrictions.


  1. Who’s considered essential and allowed to travel to work?


Executive Order 2020-21 prohibits in-person work that is not necessary to sustain or protect life.  Specifically, it says “No person or entity shall operate a business or conduct operations that require workers to leave their homes or places of residence except to the extent that those workers are necessary to sustain or protect life or to conduct minimum basic operations.”  For purposes of this order, workers who are necessary to sustain or protect life are defined as “critical infrastructure workers.”  The EO details that these workers may include:


Health care and public health

Law enforcement, public safety, and first responders

Food and agriculture.


Water and wastewater

Transportation and logistics

Public works

Communications and information technology, including news media

Other community-based government operations and essential functions

Critical manufacturing

Hazardous materials

Financial services

Chemical supply chains and safety

Defense industrial base

Child-Care workers


Anyone with questions should consult the guidance and direction in Executive Order 2020-21.


  1. Is the media essential?


The Executive Order does identify the news media as part of Communications and Information Technology, which means that a journalist could be considered a critical infrastructure worker for purposes of this order.


  1. When do you call 911 versus the COVID-19 hotline?


911 should be reserved for requesting emergency services only. Persons with questions about COVID-19 should review the resources available at  Residents can also call the MDDHS COVID-19 hotline, seven days a week, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., at 888-535-6136.


Per CDC guidance, persons who believe they are exhibiting symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19, should contact their medical provider first to have their symptoms screened. At this time, not everyone’s symptoms or medical history qualifies them for testing. Do not show up to a medical facility without first contacting a medical provider.


  1. What about the homeland security letter that is floating around authorizing federal employees to travel for work?


Per the Executive Order, federal law enforcement employees are considered critical infrastructure workers.


     11. Where can I find more information and clarification about this order?


The Executive Office is working as quickly as possible to clarify specific areas of the order, based on questions they are receiving from industry and the public.  A list of FAQs that can be found here is being continually updated. 


Hastings High School 2020 Academic Top Honors Students

Hastings High School 2020 Academic Top Honors Students have been recognized for outstanding academic achievement throughout their high school careers.  Congratulations to Dane Barnes, Shannon Brown, Audrey Byykkonen, Hannah Johnson, Eleanor McFarlan, Katie Pattok and Anna Scheck.

SOS Offices Closed

All 131 Michigan Secretary of State branch offices are closed as part of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order. “I fully support Gov. Whitmer and the leadership she is demonstrating by issuing a stay-at-home order,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. “I have been communicating with her for some time on this issue, and know this is necessary to protect health of our employees and the public.”


The order states that all non-critical-infrastructure workers stay home. Therefore, the Department of State is temporarily unable to provide in-person transactions and renewals by mail. Many services will remain available online at, although there may be some delays in processing. Late fees will be waived for expirations that have occurred since the department first shifted branch operations on March 16.

Hastings City Hall Closed, please flush carefully

In order to safeguard the health of residents, city staff, and guests,  Hastings City Hall is closed to the public until further notice.  Payments may be made using the dropbox in the City Hall drive-through or online using the city website.


The City of Hastings is also asking residents who are spending more time at home due to the Governor’s ‘Stay Home Stay Safe’ executive order to help prevent sewer backups by only flushing toilet paper down the toilet.  Wipes that are labeled as flushable or any other paper products can cause issues in the system and should be disposed of in the trash.


The Michigan Adopt-A-Highway Spring Cleanup has been canceled.

The program is expected to resume with a statewide Summer pickuip scheduled for July 18-26.

However the pickups were planned for April 18-26 and May 9-17 which are both after the shutdown concluded after April 13th according to the Michigan Department of Transportation.



Because most individuals are concerned about the virus and urged to  stay home, the scammers are now coming out more than ever.  One individual reported that a person came to their house saying they were from the CDC. This is not true. The CDC will not come to your house. Do not respond to telephone calls, texts or individuals coming to your house asking for a donation even if they appear to be official.

More than likely they are after your money. Call  the police.

Hastings City Council holds virtual meeting

The Hastings City Council held an abbreviated March 23rd  meeting using technology to avoid gathering in person to  help prevent the spread of the covid-19 virus. There were no members of the public allowed in the council chambers,  no city department heads, and no council members physically present… just the Mayor and City Manager on opposite sides of the room.


Hastings City Manager Jerry Czarnecki set up a live chat on the city website for the public watching the online video stream to ask questions during the ‘public comment’ time.  Council members were able to participate in discussion and vote using a virtual meeting platform.


The Council had two pieces of business;  the second reading and adoption of two ordinances.


Ordinance No. 584 for the rezoning of land from the D-2, Industrial District to the Meadowstone Planned Unit Development, as recommended by the City of Hastings Planning Commission was adopted by the Council.  It will allow Meadowstone Mobile Home Park to add 34 new mobile home sites and improvements.


Ordinance No. 585 was approved by the Council allowing for Tax Exemption for the Kendall Place Apartments project. Kendall Place is a 3-story, 45-unit multi-family housing project to be built at 326 West State Street with housing for low-income persons and families.




Barry County and Trial Court Operations suspended

To comply with the Governor's Executive Order suspending activities that are not necessary to sustain or protect life, it was announced Monday afternoon that Barry County and the Barry County Trial Court operations will be closed from Tuesday, March 24, through Monday, April 13, 2020.


Only those workers who are necessary to conduct minimum basic operations, as defined in the order, will report as directed by their respective Elected Official or Department Head.




Governor Whitmer Signs "Stay Home, Stay Safe" Executive Order

Governor directs all non-critical businesses to temporarily close, all Michiganders to stay home or six feet away from others during COVID-19 crisis 


LANSING, Mich. -- Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order (EO 2020-21), directing all Michigan businesses and operations to temporarily suspend in-person operations that are not necessary to sustain or protect life. The order also directs Michiganders to stay in their homes unless they’re a part of that critical infrastructure workforce, engaged in an outdoor activity, or performing tasks necessary to the health and safety of themselves or their family, like going to the hospital or grocery store.  


Effective at 12:01 am on March 24, 2020, for at least the next three weeks, individuals may only leave their home or place of residence under very limited circumstances, and they must adhere to social distancing measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when they do so, including remaining at least six feet from people from outside the individual’s household to the extent feasible under the circumstances. 


In just 13 days, we’ve gone from 0 to over 1,000 COVID-19 cases,” said Governor Whitmer. “This is an unprecedented crisis that requires all of us working together to protect our families and our communities. The most effective way we can slow down the virus is to stay home. I know this will be hard, but it will be temporary. If we all come together, get serious, and do our part by staying home, we can stay safe and save lives.” 


“Taking aggressive action to protect our communities is the most important thing we can do to mitigate further spread of COVID-19,” said Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “If we do this now, we can make sure our hospitals and healthcare workers are prepared to take care of the sickest people. It is crucial that people do the right thing by staying home and staying safe.” 


Executive Order 2020-21 prohibits all businesses and operations from requiring workers to leave their homes, unless those workers are necessary to sustain or protect life or to conduct minimum basic operations. Businesses and operations are to designate the workers that meet those criteria, and must adopt social distancing practices and other mitigation measures to protect workers and patrons in the performance of that necessary in-person work.


Workers that are necessary to sustain or protect life include those in health care and public health, law enforcement and public safety, grocery store workers, and more. For a full list of these critical infrastructure workers, click the link to Executive Order 2020-21 at the bottom of this page. 


Additionally, under Executive Order 2020-21, all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring among persons outside a single household are temporarily prohibited. People may leave the house to perform for limited, necessary purposes, and may engage in outdoor activities like walking, hiking, running, cycling, or any other recreational activity, consistent with remaining at least six feet from people from outside a person’s household and with other restrictions imposed by prior executive orders. 


Michigan is currently in the top five states in the nation in number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Several governors across the country have taken similar steps to protect their communities from the spread of COVID-19, including governors Mike DeWine (R-OH), Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), J.B. Pritzker (D-IL), Tom Wolf (D-PA), Gavin Newsom (D-CA), John Bel Edwards (D-LA), Phil Murphy (D-NJ), and Ned Lamont (D-CT). 


Patients with confirmed infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:    



-Shortness of breath       


The best prevention for viruses, such as influenza, the common cold or COVID-19 is:  


-If you think you have symptoms of COVID-19, call your health care provider. If you do not have a health care provider, call the nearest hospital.       

-Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If not available, use hand sanitizer.         

-Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.         

-Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.         

-Avoid contact with people who are sick.         

-If you are sick, stay home, and avoid contact with others.        

-Stay at least 6 feet away from others when in a public setting.       


Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at and   


For those who have questions about the state’s actions to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, please call the COVID-19 Hotline at 1-888-535-6136 between 8AM - 5PM daily.   


Michiganders can apply for unemployment benefits if they have left work or taken a leave of absence because of self-isolation or self-quarantine in response to elevated risk from COVID-19 due to being immunocompromised, displaying the symptoms of COVID-19, having contact in the last 14 days with someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, the need to care for someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, or a family care responsibility as a result of a government directive. Those temporarily laid off from work should apply for unemployment benefits online at or 1-866-500-0017.  


Governor Whitmer is working to ensure that children who rely on the food provided by schools will have the resources they need. The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has developed an online map for families to find meals. Families can access the map at: 


On March 19, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) approved the governor’s request for a statewide Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) declaration, opening the opportunity to small businesses to access low-interest loans from the SBA. The application for disaster loan assistance is available at For businesses looking for more information on how to apply for an SBA EIDL loan or whether it is something they should consider, visit 


To view executive order 2020-21, click the link below:   

EO 2020-21 Stay Home, Stay Safe.pdf

Social Distancing in West Michigan's Great Outdoors

Practicing safe social distancing is an important part of life right now, but that doesn’t mean you need to stay confined to the house! Michigan’s great outdoors are beginning to show signs of Spring, and offer a perfect place to spread out and get some fresh air.


We strongly recommend that you follow all current advisories in place from state/local/federal government, and be smart when traveling outdoors. These advisories include keeping a safe social distance (6’ or more) from others, not congregating (even in outdoor spaces), and regularly washing your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.

Augusta: Kellogg Bird Sanctuary 

The grounds will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to hike their trails, offering space to maintain the CDC recommended six foot social distancing. If you are not a member, please use the green honesty box for your admission (cash only). To keep the flock safe, please do NOT bring in your own waterfowl feed, bread, etc. Sanctuary staff will be on site every day caring for the birds.

Battle Creek: Leila Arboretum

Leila Arboretum, in Battle Creek is the perfect place to “get out and spread out” during this time of social distancing. Walk your dog. Play a round of disc golf. Fly a kite. Photograph signs of spring. Run the 1-mile loop. Enjoy a picnic of carry-out food from your favorite restaurant. Wander about the 8’-20’ tree carvings in the Fantasy Forest. Walk and meditate in the Peace Labyrinth Garden. Play Pokemon Go. Join Leila Arboretum in their 85 Acre park (with free admission) and avoid feeling cooped-up by the quarantine. Make an effort to get outside each day.

Grand Rapids: Blandford Nature Center

The trails at Blandford Nature Center remain open, and Blandford hopes you continue to take advantage of them. Their trails, habitats, and green spaces offer the restorative, healing, and stress-relieving power of connecting with nature, so they encourage you to get outside!

Grand Rapids: Robinette’s

You probably know they have great cider and donuts, but did you also know that Robinette’s has some great outdoor trails? Here’s a link to their trails, which you can still enjoy while practicing social distancing. You can also still pick up or order their bread, donuts, baked goods, sandwiches, and wine while you’re there!

Hastings: Historic Charlton Park

All Parks Commission grounds, trails, and recreational areas remain open at this time for enjoying the outdoors and some fresh Michigan air. These include the Historic Charlton Park Recreation Area and Trails, McKeown Bridge Park, and Paul Henry Thornapple Trail sections. They continue to emphasize that you maintain the social distancing guidelines when using outdoor amenities and follow all CDC and Barry/Eaton District Health Department COVID-19 guidelines for preventing exposure. Please check back regularly for any updates and/or changes to operational procedures.

Hastings: Pierce Cedar Creek Institute

Pierce Cedar Creek Institute is a nature center, environmental education center, and biological field station located on 742 acres with nine miles of hiking trails located ten miles south of Hastings. The trails at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute are open for use from dawn to dusk.

Hickory Corners: Kellogg Manor House

To honor social distancing the Manor House will be closed for daily visitors until further notice, however the KBS grounds will remain open. Pick up a historical walking tour brochure on the white office doors at the Manor and enjoy the fresh air.

Statewide: Michigan State Parks

Michigan’s outdoors are here for you. The Michigan DNR encourages you to get outside, but be ‘COVID-19 smart, safe and solo.’ Although the public contact areas (restroom buildings, shooting ranges, visitor centers) at many DNR-managed facilities are temporarily closed, people are still welcome to enjoy the public outdoor areas at state parks and recreation areas, state game and wildlife areas, state forests, state trails and, of course, lakes, rivers and streams. For the duration of the COVID-19 situation, the DNR is waiving the need for the Recreation Passport for entry at state parks and other destinations. Explore things to do on the DNR’s website for inspiration; check out their YouTube channel for how-to videos; and get hunting and fishing licenses at the new license system website. Closer to home, you could soak up some sun on the back deck, walk around the block, or jog the nearest local trail. No matter how you enjoy the outdoors, the DNR urges you to practice effective “social distancing” and other measures to help stop the spread of the coronavirus and keep you, your family, and your community safe




Delton Kellogg Schools Meal Assistance Program

Delton Kellogg Schools will be handing out free food during this unexpected
school closure. We will have breakfast and lunch food items pre-packed for
each child 18 years and under. We will be delivering these meals to six (6)
different locations throughout our school district. We hope that by dividing the deliveries into different
stops, it will allow each family to be able to get to the stop closest to them. The Transportation
Department will be using three vans to make these deliveries


Meals will be delivered on:
Wednesday, March 18
Saturdays, March 21, March 28, April 4, April 11


Meal stops will be:


Van #1
Prairieville (former store by the park)- 10:30 am
Circle Inn Restaurant - Gun Lake 11:00 am (van will be driving through the trailer park area behind the
restaurant also)


Van #2
* Cloverdale Lake Public Access 10:30am
Guernsey Lake area- 11:00 am (van will park at the entrance and then drive through the trailer park area)


Van #3
Delton Methodist Church parking lot- 10:30 am
Banfield Area - Cherry Street bus stop- 11:00 am


If a parent can arrive at a designated stop but cannot bring their child(ren) they may request meals for
each child not with them.
This program will follow the same guidelines as our regular Summer Food Program – Meet Up and Eat
Up. Milk will also be available to those who would like it.


If you have a peanut or dairy allergy please let the driver at the site know this. They will NOT have the
allergy slips from the office but will have options for those who cannot have specific items.

First COVID-19 Case Identified in Barry County

The Barry-Eaton District Health Department is reporting Barry County’s first positive case for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The individual is a 45-year-old male with no travel history. The Barry-Eaton District Health Department (BEDHD) will contact people who have been in close contact with the patient. They will be assessed for symptoms and monitored appropriately.


Barry-Eaton District Health Department is not naming public low-risk exposure locations. Residents should behave as though the virus may be present when they are in public places in the community. The health department reinforces that people should be taking all recommended prevention measures.


As a precaution, BEDHD is asking anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 to self-isolate for 14 days to avoid potentially exposing others. COVID-19 symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus. Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath.


Colette Scrimger, BEDHD Health Officer stated, “As the COVID-19 situation continues to develop, we urge Barry County residents to make efforts to reduce the spread of illness. Barry-Eaton District Health Department is working hard to manage and respond to the presence of COVID-19 in Barry County through established public health measures such as quarantine, isolation, and contact tracing.”


To prevent the spread of COVID-19, people should:

- Wash their hands.

- Stay home when sick.

- Avoid close contact with sick people.

- Avoid touching their face.

- Disinfect commonly touched surfaces.

- Avoid shaking hands.

- Follow suggested guidelines for social distancing.


For social distancing, we recommend the following:

- Keep six feet between yourself and others when possible.

- Avoid public places at their busiest times.

- Work from home when possible.

- Cancel gatherings of more than 50 people as required by Michigan law. However, it is recommended gatherings not exceed 10 people.

- Limit travel.


People who are concerned that they may have COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider and call ahead before visiting any healthcare facility. Mildly ill people are encouraged to stay home and contact their healthcare provider by phone for guidance. If you feel well, you do not need to be tested. Testing is determined based on risk assessment.

Barry County Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program postponed


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Barry County’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program suspended their tax preparation services effective March 13, 2020.  This includes tax appointments scheduled at the Hastings Public Library, Delton District Library, Putnam District Library and Thornapple Credit Union. 


The Treasury Department announced Friday, March 20, 2020 that is has moved Tax Day to July 15, 2020.  This means that once things settle down, we WILL be opening up our VITA sites and contacting all of those individuals whose appointments were cancelled.  There WILL be opportunities to take advantage of this program prior to the new tax filing deadline of July 15th.


Those households who have the capability of emailing their tax documents to the United Way offices, should contact Courtney to see if their return can be completed virtually.  This would consist of a phone interview and documentation would be sent electronically between the client and preparer.  This service could be provided now while social distancing is in effect.


Please keep in mind, the office of the Barry County United Way, as well as other partner organizations in the BCEC will be closed to the public through at least March 31.  We seek to limit exposure to our clients and staff as many other organizations are also doing.  Courtney Ziny can be contacted by e-mail at or 269-945-4010.


Since the end of January, Barry County’s VITA program has assisted 473 households in collecting over $740,000 in tax refunds and credits! This program, supported by the IRS, offers FREE tax assistance to households with an income less than $60,000. IRS-certified volunteers provide FREE income tax return preparation to eligible individuals and families.  Preparers help inform taxpayers about special tax credits for which they may qualify such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Homestead Property Tax Credit and Home Heating Credit.


A partnership between Davenport University, Barry Community Foundation and Barry County United Way, the local VITA program has been offering FREE tax assistance to residents for over 10 years!

Barry County Cares Pantries

Barry County Cares signs up residents of Barry County for food at five local food pantries.  If you wish to donate non-perishable non-outdated foods or need food, call Barry County Cares at 269-948-9555.

YMCA collecting donations to support School Feeding Programs

The YMCA of Barry County is working to collaborate with local school districts including Hastings, Delton Kellogg, Thornapple Kellogg, and Maple Valley, to ensure kids and families are fed during the mandatory school closures.
Non-perishable food items, toiletries, personal hygiene products, cleaning supplies, etc may be dropped off at the YMCA between 9am-1pm, Monday-Friday.  Monetary donations may be given online through the YMCA Website

First Positive COVID-19 Case in Eaton County

Testing through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has identified Eaton County’s first positive case for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The individual is an 88-year-old female Eaton County resident whose travel history includes domestic travel. The Barry-Eaton District Health Department (BEDHD) will contact people who have been in close contact with the patient, and will assess for symptoms and quarantine and monitor appropriately.


Colette Scrimger, Barry-Eaton District Health Officer, stated, “We understand many in the community are concerned about the spread of COVID-19. Barry-Eaton District Health Department will be acting quickly using methods such as contact tracing, quarantine, and isolation for impacted individuals to reduce the risk of illness in Eaton County.”


As a precaution, BEDHD is asking anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 to self-isolate for 14 days to avoid potentially exposing others. COVID-19 symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus. Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath.


To prevent the spread of COVID-19, people should:
• Wash their hands.
• Stay home when sick.
• Avoid close contact with sick people.
• Avoid touching their face.
• Disinfect commonly touched surfaces.
• Avoid shaking hands.
• Follow suggested guidelines for social distancing.


For social distancing, we recommend the following:
• Keep six feet between yourself and others when possible.
• Avoid public places at their busiest times.
• Work from home when possible.
• Cancel gatherings of more than 50 people as required by Michigan law. However, it is recommended gatherings not exceed 10 people.
• Limit travel.


People who are concerned that they may have COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider and call ahead before visiting any healthcare facility. Mildly ill people are encouraged to stay home and contact their healthcare provider by phone for guidance. If you feel well, you do not need to be tested. Testing is determined based on risk assessment.


Update from BEHD to Board of Commissioners

Health Officer Colette Scrimger and Medical Director Dr. Woodall updated County Commissioners on the status of coronavirus response in Barry County and of precautionary measures the Barry Eaton District Health Department is taking to contact and monitor individuals who may have been exposed to the virus.


BEHD is not doing actual testing at this time. That is done through a health provider or hospital.  The Health Department has been pulling staff from some regular services to respond to the situation. BEHD does contact tracing when an individual has been referred for testing, and those contacts then self-quarantine with monitoring by the Health Department.


One of the issues right now is trying to make enough personal protection equipment available to health workers so they can safely do testing locally.


Dr. Woodall said as many public health measures are being implemented as possible to keep the number of cases as low as possible.

Presentation and discussion on Jail project

At the Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday, Eric Hackman of Tower Pinkster went through the presentation that would have been shared at the next Barry County Community Forum, originally scheduled for March 19th, that was cancelled because of the current health crisis.


The current strategy is to concentrate on replacing the Jail and Sheriff’s Office, while exploring other funding options in lieu of a millage to address replacing the existing Barry County Commission on Aging facility.


The preliminary jail proposal is to replace the current 97 bed facility with a new 116 bed jail of approximately 60-thousand square feet to serve current needs and short term projections, while allowing room for expansion up to 136 beds in the future. Hackman presented preliminary concept drawings of what that might look like, with a proposed project cost of $25-million dollars.


The proposed cost allows the county to explore or pursue alternate sites for a new jail such as a greenfield site, adaptive re-use of another site, or to build on the current site. However, the Board of Commissioners has indicated it first  needs to get the ‘Pre-Approval’ from taxpayers to go ahead with the project before choosing the final site, or before paying the estimated half-million dollar cost for detailed architectural drawings.


The Board must decide by April 14th whether to put a bond millage question on the August ballot in order to get that voter ‘Pre-Approval’ to proceed.  Millage rate estimates to fund a $25-million dollar project would be 0.52 mills for 25 years, or 0.63 mills for 20 years. 


As an example, the owner of a home with $100-thousand market value would pay $26 per year with the 25 year bond/rate, or $31.50 per year with the 20 year bond/rate.

Area Cancellations & Closings

Barry County and the Barry County Trial Court operations will remain available, however buildings will be closed to the public beginning Wednesday, March 18, 2020 through Sunday, April 5, 2020.


Hastings City Hall is closed to walk-in traffic until further notice.  Admission will be by appointment only.  Payments may be made through the drive-thru, the drop box, by telephone, or online.  Please call 269-945-2468 with questions or to make an appointment.


All Ionia County buildings and non-essential departments/services will be closed through April 5, 2020. Normal operations and office hours will resume on Monday, April 6, 2020.


The Village Office in Middleville is closed until further notice. Staff are available by phone at 269-795-3385 and by email through the village website


Nashville Village Office is closing at 3pm March 17th and will remain closed til April 6, 2020.


The Barry County Commission on Aging building is closed to the public and all activities are canceled through April 6, 2020.  Meals on Wheels, Takeout Congregate Meals and critical Homecare will still be provided. 


Pennock Health & Wellness Center closed until further notice.


Thornapple Arts Council office closed until further notice.


Hastings Community Music School closed until April 6.


Eaton County Courthouse is closed to the public, but county and available services are by appointment only.


All library programs and group meetings at Hastings Public Library are canceled. The library is closed until schools resume.


American Legion Post 45 has canceled all activities until April 6


Pierce Cedar Creek Institute closed through March 30th. Public events cancelled through May 3.


Gilmore Car Museum  is closed.


Ionia County:  Many Commission on Aging and all Senior Center events canceled. Register of Deeds closed. Clerk’s office not issuing concealed pistol licenses. 


Gun Lake Casino closed until March 30. All casino events, including promotions are canceled during that time. 


Barry County Chamber of Commerce & Economic Alliance Office will be closed to the public until further notice.  Staff is available remotely.


Day of Review of Drainage District Boundary Review and Apportionment Review on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at Yankee Springs Township Hall is canceled.



Church Services and events canceled at:  


Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Hastings

First Presbyterian Church, Hastings

Grace Bretheran Bible Church

Green Street Methodist Church, Hastings

Grace Lutheran Church, Hastings

Gun Lake Community Church

Hope United Methodist Church

Lakewood United Methodist Church

Middleville Christian Reformed Church

McCallum United Bretheren Church

Nashville Baptist Church

Nashville Church of the Nazarine

Thornapple Valley Church, all campuses

Yankee Springs Bible Church

Zion Lutheran Church, Woodland

Please check with the individual church office for more information.



Send Email of further cancellations to and we will add them as soon as possible.




KCC to close campuses at noon Wednesday

Kellogg Community College is closing all of its facilities effective at noon today. This closure affects the North Avenue campus and Regional Manufacturing Technology Center in Battle Creek, the Fehsenfeld Center in Hastings, the Grahl Center in Coldwater and the Eastern Academic Center in Albion. 

The Spring 2020 semester is continuing, albeit in an online-only format with instructors working remotely.

KCC's facility closure will remain in effect through April 5 and the situation will be re-evaluated at that time.

Spectrum Health Pennock Limits Radiology, Rehab and Lab Services

Spectrum Health Pennock announced that it is limiting outpatient rehab services at Hastings and Gun Lake locations. Pennock is also cancelling all non-essential diagnostic exams, while most labs remain open at this time.


OUTPATIENT REHAB: Rehab services will be significantly scaled back and staff are calling people with appointments to postpone or reschedule. These changes are effective from Tuesday, March 17 through March 29, and will be evaluated weekly. Gun Lake Rehab will be closed during this time frame, moving essential visits to Hastings. For more information, contact rehab in Hastings at 269.948.3350.


LAB: Most Spectrum Health Pennock labs remain open to the public at this time. For more information, contact 269.945.3451. 


-The hospital lab maintains hours of Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays, 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

-State Street Center Lab is open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

-Lab services at Pennock Family Medicine – Lake Odessa remain open Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

-Lab services at Integrated Care Campus – Ionia remain open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

-Draw lab at Pennock Family Medicine – Gun Lake is closed.


DIAGNOSTIC: Spectrum Health Pennock is cancelling all non-urgent outpatient diagnostic exams, including screening mammograms, MRIs, CT scans and other services. These changes are effective from Tuesday, March 17 through Tuesday, March 31.  Walk in x-ray patients are asked to visit State Street Center or our Integrated Care Campus – Ionia instead of coming to the hospital. Changes to other Pennock sites include:


-Pennock Radiology at Gun Lake and Lake Odessa are closed until March 31.

-Pennock Radiology at Integrated Care Campus – Ionia will remain open Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Ultrasound will close. 

-Pennock Radiology at State Street Center will see patients for x-rays only Monday through Fridays, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday/Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.


Diagnostic mammograms, breast ultrasounds and breast biopsies, as well as procedures ordered as urgent, will continue to be performed at the hospital. Hours will vary for different services. For questions, contact: 269.948.3108.


Patients with scheduled non-urgent appointments, procedures or surgeries during this time will be contacted by their provider(s) regarding next steps. If you have questions, please call your physician’s office.


Individuals are asked to call their doctor if they are experiencing symptoms, or the Spectrum Health COVID-19 hotline at 616.391.2380 to schedule a free phone screening. If your symptoms are life-threatening, call 911.

First Day of Spring

With all of the news around the world, here is some positive news. Tomorrow March 19th is the first day of spring here in the United States! Warmer weather is just around the corner! 

Board of Commissioners holds special meeting, adopts Ops Plan

In response to current public health risks, at their special meeting on Tuesday the Board of Commissioners approved a temporary Operations Plan. The Board also cancelled the March 24th Board of Commissioners meeting and April 7th Committee the Whole meeting.


The County and the Barry County Trial Court operations will remain available, however buildings will be closed to the public through Sunday, April 5, 2020.


Anyone requiring county services must call the respective office before traveling to a county building.


All services that can be conducted alternatively (online or phone) or delayed shall be handled in that manner.


Public shall contact the office or court in which they have business in order to determine whether such business can be delayed, conducted over the phone or online.


The County's main telephone number is 269-945-1400. Using the directory, persons will be able to contact County and Court offices.


If business must be conducted in person, appointments shall be required to be scheduled in advance with the appropriate department.


Those with scheduled appointments may be screened upon entering the building.

Hastings Fresh Food Initative site will be a drive thru distribution

The Barry County United Way is working to ensure that food is available to Barry County residents during this time.  The Fresh food Distribution will be hosted in the Green Street United Methodist Church back Parking lot with some changes effective Wednesday, March 18th.


The truck will arrive at the normal scheduled time. the Barry County United way voluteers will unload and package items into bags. 1 bag per household only. .A delayed distribution system based on recipients last name will be used.


10am to 10:30am if your last name starts with A-H

10:30-11:00am for names I-P

11:00-11:30am for names Q-Z


a volunteer will meet you at your car at a designated entrance into the parking lot to have you complete paper work.

Restaurant and Bar closures

The Governor Monday ordered Restaurants and Bars closed at 3:00 pm. Monday. 


Many area restaurants are offering take-out or curbside service until the closure order is lifted. To place your order call ahead or come into the main entrance. At least one local restaurant is kicking off a "virtual kitchen" where you order online and your food is delivered in the Hastings area.


Listen to WBCH for more from area establishments who are taking all food safety precautions to stay open while offering you safe take-out meals.

Lakewood Public Schools Mobile Meals to start March 19th

Lakewood Public Schools announces the Viking Mobile Meals campaign to assist families with children beginning Thursday, March 19th.


Food will be distributed to any family with Children 0-18yrs or 26 and under with a disability. Available food items will include breakfast/lunch.  The food must be consumed off the property where it is being delivered.   Families are asked to not be at the location longer than 10 minutes and to limit the number of people when arriving at the distribution point. If you or someone at home is not feeling well or have traveled lately please refrain from attending the distribution point.


Drop Off of times:  Monday's & Thursday's, 11:00a.m. to 12:00p.m.


Sunfield:  Aunt B's Daycare (former Sunfield Elementary) Parking Lot 280 Long St.

Woodland:  Early Childhood Center Parking Lot 223 W. Broadway St.

Lake Odessa:  Lakewood High School  Parking, Lot 7723 Velte Rd.

                       Lakewood Elementary Parking lot, 812 Washington St.

Clarksville:  Clarksville Elementary Parking Lot. 220 1st St.


A new webpage dedicated to all things COVID-19 for you to bookmark


Public Notice: Special Meeting of the Board of Commissioners, Tuesday, March 17

Pursuant to Governor Whitmer’s directive regarding postponement of meetings of public boards and commissions, to limit the spread of COVID-19, the regularly scheduled meeting of the Committee of the Whole on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. will also be a Special Meeting of the the Barry County Board of Commissioners Commissioners to conduct necessary business for the

month of March. 


A topic of the meeting will include discussion regarding the possibility of canceling the March 24, 2020 Board of Commissioners meeting and the April 7, 2020 Committee of the Whole meeting.


For more information contact (269) 945-1284.

Barry County Community Dialogue Event in Nashville canceled

The Barry County Community Dialogue Event scheduled for Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 7:00 p.m., at Grace Community Church in Nashville has been canceled.


The Barry County Board of Commissioners had planned to host the event, facilitated by Tower Pinkster of Kalamazoo, as a continuation of previous community forums in order to present a plan for a new jail and sheriff's office and for discussion for a potential millage election in August 2020.


The event is cancelled pursuant to Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order restricting the size of public gatherings in response to the COVID-19 virus.


For more information contact (269) 945-1284.

Thornapple Kellogg Schools Meal Support

Thornapple Kellogg Schools will offer free breakfast and lunch during the school closure. Meals will be provided for children ages 18 and under, or 26 and under with a disability.


Meals will be provided in DRIVE THROUGH fashion behind Thornapple Kellogg Middle School. Food will be delivered to your vehicle at the curb. Meal Service begins Monday, March 16th.


Meals for Tuesday through Thursday may be picked up Monday; Meals for Friday through Monday may be picked up on Thursday.  The pick-up time frame will be from 3:30pm to 5:30pm at Thornapple Kellogg Middleschool, 10375 Green Lake Rd.  Please use the service drive to reach the loading doc area.

Commission on Aging building closed, Meals on Wheels still provided

The Barry County Commission on Aging building is closed to the public and all activities are canceled through April 6, 2020.


Meals on Wheels, Takeout Congregate Meals and critical Homecare will still be provided.  Those with questions should phone 269-948-4856.

Governor Whitmer issues temporary ban on large events and gatherings


Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order Friday that cancels events over 250 people and all large gatherings in shared spaces over 250 people. “This is about protecting the most people we can from the spread of coronavirus,” said Governor Whitmer.


The ban includes entertainment, sporting, and community events like the annual St. Patrick’s Parade in Hastings that WBCH Radio organizes each year on South Jefferson Street.


The temporary restriction starts Friday, March 13 at 5 p.m. and ending on Sunday, April 5 at 5 p.m.

Under this executive order, all events and shared-space gatherings of more than 250 people are temporarily prohibited in the state. Certain gatherings are exempt from this prohibition, such as those for the purpose of: industrial or manufacturing work, mass transit, or the purchase of groceries or consumer goods. 


Hastings Area Schools Mobile Feeding Plan Teens & Kids eat free

HASS and the YMCA of Barry County have teamed up to ensure our kids are fed during this mandatory school closure.Starting March 18th and running Monday thru Friday,  All youth ages 18 and under are welcome at one of the daily feeding stops.  Sack lunch meals will be handed out to each person wanting a lunch, to take home to eat. Other supplies, as available will be available to families. Donations accepted at Hasting Highschool Cafeteria East Entry.

Look for  either a HASS Vehicle or YMCA Van at these locations:


11-11:30am Meadow Stone Manufactured  Home Park Playground

12-12:30pm Meadow Stone Apartments Central Parking lot


11-11:30am Southeastern Elementary Bus Zone Pick-up

12-12:30pm Thornapple Lake Estates Office area


11-11:30am Central Elementary/HMS, Bus Pick-up Zone

12-12:30pm Dowling, E Dowling Rd & M-37 Hwy.


11-11:30am Northeastern Elementary, Parking lot

12-12:30pm Hastings Baptist Church Front Parking lot


11-11:30am Baltimore Terrace Estates, Playground area

12-12:30pm Cherry Health Parking Lot, 200 S. Boltwood ,Hastings

12-12:30pm Hastings High School Main Parking lot


Barry Co. Sheriff's Office & Jail suspends some services

In response to the Coronavirus disease (Covid-19), the Barry County Sheriff’s Office will be suspending specific functions that may create potential health hazards effective immediately. These include:


  1. Daily preliminary breath testing (PBT’s).
  2. Weekend urine screening.
  3. Inmate visits with the public (professional visits allowed).
  4. All fingerprinting services.
  5. Sex offender registrations.


These restrictions will remain in effect until further notice.


Gun registrations can be mailed to the Sheriff’s Office.


Coronavirus concerns prompt cancellation of church services, community breakfast

To minimize the spread of the coronavirus and according to the guidance of its' bishop, Emmanuel Episcopal Church will not worship face to face on Sundays through the end of March.  The Saturday Community Breakfast will also not be served during that time.  The church office will be open per usual on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays and the Rector is available at any time.  AA will meet this evening and decide at the time about coming meetings."

Governor Whitmer Closes K-12 Schools

All K-12 Schools in Michigan will close Monday March 16th through April 5th to slow the spread of the coronavirus.  St. Rose Catholic School in Hastings will also  be closed from Monday March16th to April 5th.


Hastings Area Schools classes cancelled from March 16th to April 10th.  Spring Vacation will still be April 6-10th.  The entire district will be shut down from 5:00pm Saturday, March 14th until 7:30am, Monday, March 23rd.  This will allow for deep cleaning of every building & bus in the district.  The CERC will be closed but Child Care will remain open.  Child Care will get a thorough in depth cleaning over the weekend.  All School related activities are cancelled until further notice.

Lunch will be provided at various locations around the district.   Student work will be handled by each individual building. Look for email or school posts for specifics. Hastings Area Schools Systems will update any information on their facebook page.

Lakewood Schools Closed Friday due to possible COVID-19 exposure Update

While Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced late Thursday night that she has ordered all K-12 schools in the state to be closed starting Monday, March 16,  Superintendent Randy Fleenor announced that Lakewood Public Schools will be closed starting this Friday, March 13.


In a facebook post Thursday night, Fleenor said they learned late Wednesday that there was a staff member in the high school who was put on 24-hour quarantine pending the outcome of testing for  COVID-19.  He said that due to the backlog at testing facilities, they had still not received the outcome as of Thursday night.   He said rather than taking a chance, they were going to be proactive and cancel school beginning Friday, March 13.  High school students and parents of K through 8th grade students can pick up personal items at school Friday from noon to 2pm.


Fleenor went on to say that Lakewood schools will resume on Monday, April 13th after spring break.


UPDATE;   The Districts Operatons team is working with their cleaning service to schedule advance deep cleaning of all areas during the shutdown. Deep cleaning of all technology will also be included in this process.


Lakewood Public Schools has donated all of their perishable food to Manna's Market and several local churches.  Clarksville Bible Church at 191 S. Main Street in Clarksville is providing sack lunches every day during the shutdown to school families Monday through Friday from 12:00pm to 12:30pm. Kilpatrick  Church, 10005 E. Barnum Rd. Woodland has a fresh food initiative every 3rd Saturday.  The next initiative is March 21st from 9am to 11am.  During this time many families will need this.. This is a great opportunity to donate if you are able.


Your child's teacher will communicate out to families by Honeywell, Facebook or classroom texting apps, essential information regarding at home learning opportunities.


Superintendent Randy Fleenor says they have not received any communication regarding the make up days, and are planning on a regularly scheduled last day, which is Wednesday, June 3, 2020.


Friggatriskaidekaphobia, Pi Day, Beware the Ides of March

Friggatriskaidekaphobia -- the fear of Friday the 13th. The Frigga is for Friday, the triskai is for 3, the deka means 10, so triskaideca means 13, and phobia is the fear. Why Friggan worry about it?


Pi Day -- celebrated on March 14th (3/14) around the world. Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159.  Celebrate with a slice of your favorite Pi !


So what about the Ides of March, and why should you be beware of them? In ancient Rome, the Ides of March were equivalent to our March 15. In the Roman calendar, this date corresponded to several religious observances. The Romans considered the Ides of March as a deadline for settling debts. If you’ve heard of the Ides of March, it’s probably thanks to William Shakespeare. In his play Julius Caesar, a soothsayer attracts Caesar’s attention and tells him:


Beware the ides of March.

Thornapple Manor puts visitor restrictions in place to help protect residents

Thornapple Manor has enacted restrictions on social and unnecessary visits to the facility to ensure residents are cared for in the safest and healthiest environment possible.


At this time there are no known cases of COVID-19 in our community, however, as the first priority of the management and staff at Thornapple Manor is keeping our residents safe we are taking this plan of action. Be assured that we have made a variety of steps to ensure that our staff are screened prior to entering the buildings to help reduce the potential for the virus to enter our facility. We will remain in close contact with local and state health organizations and will follow their guidance.


Here is how you can help battle COVID-19:


-Follow the CDC recommendations regarding hand washing hygiene, as well as, coughing and sneezing etiquette


-Avoid shaking hands and hugs with any individual


-If you are experience a cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose, and/or shortness of breath, stay home


-If your loved one is residing at Thornapple Manor please communicate with them by telephone, email, text, video chat or social media


-If you believe a visit here is necessary we request that you contact the front desk prior to your arrival to make arrangements


-Make sure we have the most current emergency contact information so we may efficiently communicate with you should there be any new developments.


Should you have any questions please feel free to contact Thornapple Manor’s Administrator, Don Haney at (269) 945-2407.

MHSAA Tournaments and Big Ten Tournament cancelled, effective immediately

The MHSAA announced Thursday afternoon that all winter tournaments are suspended, effective immediately and indefinitely, due to concerns related to COVID-19.  


The MHSAA announcement came just hours after the Big Ten Conference announced late Thursday morning that the Big Ten Basketball Tournament has been cancelled.


Rutgers and Michigan were set to play at noon in the second round and went through pre-game warmups, but were called off the court and the announcement was made shortly after.


"The Big Ten Conference announced today that it will be canceling the remainder of the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament, effective immediately," the conference said in a statement.


"The Big Ten Conference will use this time to work with the appropriate medical experts and institutional leadership to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic.


The main priority of the Big Ten Conference continues to be the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, fans and media as we continue to monitor all developing and relevant information on the COVID-19 virus."

Spectrum Health announces family & visitor restrictions in response to COVID-19 outbreak

Spectrum Health has taken additional action to help limit the spread of COVID-19 by announcing new hospital family and visitor restrictions.


The State of Michigan has its first presumed cases of COVID-19, and an official state of emergency has been declared by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. This act has heightened the concern regarding limiting the spread of the disease.


To help keep our communities and our patients healthy, effective immediately, Spectrum Health will be enforcing the following family and visitor restrictions at all of its hospitals:


-No children under the age of 12 will be allowed to visit Spectrum Health hospitals during this time for their safety.


-Visitors, including family members, will be limited to one person per patient. Two visitors will be allowed for pediatric (children under the age of 18) and maternity patients.


-Visitors and family members must be healthy and without symptoms of illness.


-Visitors and family members who have recently traveled internationally to countries that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention include in their COVID-19 travel warnings will not be permitted to visit.


Spectrum Health continues to offer free virtual COVID-19 screenings to those who have symptoms and may be concerned they have the virus. The purpose is to prevent the spread of illness by enabling people to seek the information they need from their homes, while making it easy and convenient for them. People in the state of Michigan who are experiencing symptoms can call the health system’s hotline 616.391.2380 to be scheduled for a free virtual screening. Anyone with severe or life-threatening symptoms should call 911.


Spectrum Health has posted downloadable materials, travel tips, videos and other information on its website as a means to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Community members, churches, schools, businesses and others are encouraged to visit to access the resources.

Hastings Approves Site Plans for Two Developments

The Hastings City Council approved final site plans for two projects in the Court Street Planned Unit Development (PUD) as recommended by the Hastings City Planning Commission.

Kendall Place Apartments is a 3-story, 45-unit multi-family housing project to be built at 326 West State Street on just over 1 acre of vacant land. It will include twenty-seven 1-bedroom units and eighteen 2-bedroom units, a leasing office, community room, and fitness room.  A parking lot for tenants will have entrances on Park Street and Court Street.


The other project is for EWB Properties for an expansion of the existing 400 West State Street Professional Building  with a 2-story addition on the west side of the existing 1-story structure. It would include demolition of the house on the west side.  Current tenants in the professional building include Hastings Pharmacy, and Kevin Beck-Edward Jones Investments.

Barry Co. Community Dialogue Event March 19th to discuss Jail and COA

Eric Hackman of Tower Pinkster updated Barry County Commissioners last week on the feedback that was gathered from the public at recent community forums concerning the Commission on Aging facility and Barry County Jail.  Twelve different jail options have been looked at, plus several options for the COA have been discussed. Commissioners have reached the consensus that the jail needs to be replaced as soon as possible, but that the COA needs further study.


As their next step, Commissioners have scheduled an upcoming Community Dialogue Event on Thursday, March 19th at 7:00pm at Grace Community Church on M-79 Highway in Nashville.  The meeting will again be facilitated by Tower Pinkster to discuss the COA and to present a plan for a new jail and Sheriff’s office, the scope and cost of which will potentially appear as a millage request in August. Commissioners have until April 17th to decide on ballot language in order to move forward on a millage initiative at the August election. The size and location for a new jail is still under consideration.


An Ad Hoc Committee made up of Commissioners Conner, Jackson and Gibson has been appointed by Chair Heather Wing to study the Commission on Aging and report their findings to the commissioners. 


At their February 20th meeting the COA Board of Directors approved a motion requesting that County Commissioners find a way to fund a new COA building without putting a millage vote on the ballot.

Election Results

Voters in Michigan’s 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary on Tuesday chose former Vice President Joe Biden over Senator Bernie Sanders.  In Barry County the vote was approximately 52% for Biden, 36% for Sanders.


The county- wide millage request for Barry County 911 Dispatch was approved by voters, 64% Yes to 36% No.  The  0.9672 mill renewal for five years represents about 95% of the operational funding for Central Dispatch,  the rest comes from the 911 fee collected on phone bills.

Women suffragettes to march in WBCH/South Jefferson St. Patrick's Day Parade

Hastings annual Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, set for March 17 at 4 p.m., features all manner of Irish people, animals and leprechauns who gather behind the WBCH radio station at 4 p.m., rain, shine or snow, to begin the smallest, easiest to join, most funnest parade held during the year in the city. The 6 block march starts on South Jefferson Street and ends on South Church, making it the also the shortest parade in town.



The Grand Marshal leading the parade is Dave McIntyre and WBCH General Manager Steve Radant expects anywhere from 50 to 500 participants.


Look this year for suffragettes portrayed by the Freeport Historical Society. The ladies will wear period clothing and hats, wear sashes and carry signs demanding the women’s right to vote.


Because the original marchers won the right to vote, the ladies likely won’t throw rocks through store windows like some suffragettes in England did.


The society will hold a gala/celebration/recognition of the ratification of the 19th amendment 100 years ago giving women the right to vote, complete with food, fellowship, skits, special guests and the women’s march on Aug. 26 in the Village of Freeport.


If you want to join in the St. Pat’s celebration, call WBCH (269-945-3414) to let them know or just show up to march or watch.


Remember to be Green!

Potential COVID-19 Concern in Eaton Rapids Public Schools

On the afternoon of Monday, March 9th Barry-Eaton District Health Department (BEDHD) became aware of a potential COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) concern at Greyhound Intermediate School in Eaton Rapids after it became known that a school employee had returned to work after traveling in Italy. Travelers returning from countries with widespread, sustained transmission of COVID-19 (Italy, Iran, China, and South Korea) are advised to self-quarantine at home for 14 days.


The school employee has not had symptoms of COVID-19 at this time, however the individual was at work for one school day on March 9, 2020, and will be under self-quarantine at home for the remainder of the 14-day period. BEDHD believes the risk to students, staff, and visitors is minimal at this time.


BEDHD staff are working collaboratively with the school to minimize the risk of any potential spread of COVID-19. BEDHD staff have interviewed the school employee and will be staying in daily contact during the self-quarantine period. BEDHD staff have also provided cleaning guidance to the school.


At this time, BEDHD believes that persons who attended work or school alongside the individual on March 9th, 2020, are at very low risk of contracting COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). We are NOT recommending that persons who came in contact with the individual self-quarantine at this time. People who are not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 do not need to be tested for COVID-19 at this time.


The spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses can be prevented using several methods. Individuals should:


• Wash their hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, especially immediately after coughing, sneezing, or blowing their nose.

• Avoid touching their face with unwashed hands.

• Clean surfaces that are touched frequently with an EPA-approved cleaner.

• When returning from a country with widespread, sustained transmission of COVID-19, stay home and self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days. Keep distance with other people (social distancing).

• When sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing trouble breathing seek medical care and call ahead before going to a doctor’s office or emergency room.

• Do not travel while sick.

• Cover their mouth and nose with a tissue or their sleeve (not their hands) when coughing or sneezing.


BEDHD also reminds the community that those travelers returning from countries with sustained community spread (China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea), read and follow the CDC’s guidance on self-quarantine in order to minimize risk for others. These instructions can be found here:

County Wide 911 Dispatch Renewal Millage on Tuesday Ballot

In addition to voting in the Democratic or Republican presidential primary Tuesday, voters will find one non-partisan issue to decide.  A renewal millage request for Barry Central 911 Dispatch at the current rate of 0.9672 mill for five years is to be decided Tuesday. The millage accounts for about 95% of the capital, equipment, and operational funding for Barry County Dispatch,  the rest comes from the 911 fee collected on phone bills.  Polls will be open from 7am to 8pm.

Homeward Bound meeting Saturday for discussion on Homelessness in Barry County

Homeward Bound, a new Barry County community action group, will hold a public information meeting Saturday. The group’s purpose is to connect Barry County’s homeless population with the resources they need to enable a better quality of life through the support of our community family.

The meeting will be held on Saturday, March 7 at 10 am in the community room of the Tyden Building, located at 121 South Church Street, access through the back entrance.


For more information, call 269-838-1289.

Spectrum Health Offers Free Virtual Screenings for Novel Coronavirus COVID-19

Spectrum Health is offering free screening for the novel coronavirus COVID-19 to those who have symptoms and may be concerned they have the virus. The purpose is to prevent the spread of illness by enabling people to seek the information they need from their homes, while making it easy and convenient for them.


“We want to provide a community health service for people who may have symptoms and are concerned about the virus, while allowing them to stay at home and prevent the spread of illness,” said Darryl Elmouchi, MD, MBA, chief medical officer, Spectrum Health System, and president, Spectrum Health Medical Group.  “The first step is to call to schedule a free virtual screening visit through our Spectrum Health Now service. The virtual screening visit will let people know if they need further evaluation.”  


Callers to the hotline will be scheduled for a virtual video visit and assisted with downloading the Spectrum Health Now app. During the virtual video visit, individuals will be asked a series of questions about their condition by a Spectrum Health provider who will advise whether they need to seek additional care. The patient may select the caregiver of their choice if they need further evaluation. It is not necessary to be a Spectrum Health patient to use the service and receive the free screening. Spectrum Health is offering this service to individuals in the state of Michigan.


The health system is advising people in Michigan to take the following steps from home:


  • READY: If you are in the state of Michigan and experiencing symptoms, call the Spectrum Health COVID-19 hotline (616) 391-2380. If you are experiencing severe or life-threatening symptoms, please call 911 or seek emergency medical assistance immediately.
  • CONNECT: Callers will be scheduled for a virtual screening.
  • GO: Spectrum Health providers will determine if you need further evaluation.

For more information about COVID-19, including information on symptoms and prevention, visit

Maple Syrup Time

It's the sweetest time of the year here in Michigan. It's maple syrup time as the production of maple syrup is  dependent on the cold nights and warmer days type weather, making the upcoming weeks prime time for celebrating this  delicious harvest.


all over the state maple syrup producers and entire towns like Vermontville will be hosting all kinds of activities. The Vermontville Maple Syrup Festival runs from Friday April 24th through Sunday April 26th giving Michiganders plenty of opportunities to learn about and enjoy Maple syrup.

Lakewood Area Choral Society is looking for a few good men

Lakewood Area Choral Society (LACS) has been entertaining audience locally and worldwide for 34 years.  Now entering their 35th year, they are actively recruiting tenors, baritones and basses.   Now is a great time to join LACS.  The choir, is under the direction of Dr. Robert C. Oster. Currently, the Choral Society boasts a roster of 90 amateur singers representing twenty-one communities and twenty-five zip codes in western and mid-Michigan. The performers are a diverse group who range from their 20’s - 80’s.  You could become one of the choir’s newest members!  LACS repertoire ranges from sacred and classical, to show tunes and pop music.

Membership is open to anyone with choral experience who loves to sing and who is willing to be dedicated to the LACS family.  This year the choir is primarily seeking new tenors, baritones, and basses, but altos and second sopranos are also welcome. On Monday, March 9, prospective new members should attend a Get-to-Know-Us, No-Commitment Rehearsal at 7 p.m. at the Sunfield United Brethren Church, 8346 W. Grand Ledge Hwy., Sunfield, MI 48890. Choral Society members will greet you at the door and usher you to your section.  Detailed information regarding the choral society’s operation and voice interview specifics will be given following the Get-To-Know-Us, No Commitment Rehearsal.  After the initial rehearsal, those interested in becoming members will have a voice interview to check range and experience. Voice interviews will take place at Grace Lutheran Church, 239 E North St, Hastings on Mar. 16 for second sopranos and altos and on March 23 from 6:00-6:50 p.m. for tenors, baritones, and basses.

The Choral Society’s season runs from March through December each year. Rehearsals, both full and sectional, are normally held on Monday nights from 7:00-9:00 p.m. The 2020 commitment for singers is a total of 18 rehearsals and 5 concerts, making the total commitment 23 days of 365.  To allow people time for vacations, no rehearsals will be held from mid-June to mid-August for the 2020 season.  Concerts generally begin in early May and conclude with a Christmas concert in December.   
The mission of the choral society is to provide for its members an atmosphere that promotes learning and enjoyment of choral music and to provide for our audiences superior performances of choral music. Further information about becoming a new member is available at Click on “Accepting New Members.”  Then click on “Register Here.”  Fill out the form so we can have copies of the music available for you at the first rehearsal.  If you would like further information, please email Joanie Oster, Executive Assistant, at or phone 269-967-7246. 

78 Layoffs at Allegan County Plant

A Virginia based organic herb producer has shut down most of its operations at an Allegan County Facility, leading to dozens of layoffs. Shenandoah Growers behind the "That's Tasty" brand notified the state about an immediate cut in a friday letter.  The company ended herb packing operations in Shelbyville about seven miles south of Wayland.


Approximately 78 jobs were lost according to company officials. The company learned they lost a major contract with a key retail client.

Fatal Crash - Eaton County

Monday 3/2/2020 at 6:30 a.m. the Eaton County Sheriff’s Office Delta Patrol responded to a two-vehicle accident at W. Saginaw Highway and I-96.  A vehicle that was eastbound with two occupants was attempting to turn onto I96 From Saginaw Hwy.  Another vehicle was westbound on Saginaw Hwy and collided with the first vehicle.


A passenger in the first car was transported to Sparrow Hospital and did not survive.


Alcohol and speed may have been a factor in the crash.  Eaton County’s Accident team is investigating.  No names are being released at this time.


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