Local News Archives for 2020-04

Hastings Live cancelled through July 6th

The City of Hastings and Thornapple Arts Council has cancelled the Hastings Live Series programming through July 6. As of now, Hastings Live will begin on July 7 as Hastings City Band performances move to Tuesdays. Further determinations on July and August events will be made on an ongoing basis as new information on the status of the coronavirus and precautions to prevent further spread becomes available.


The Hastings Live summer entertainment features live performances at various venues including Thornapple Plaza where the Hastings City Band, Friday Night Features,  Community Concert Series, and Hastings Summerfest performances take place, the Spray Plaza stage, and Barry County Courthouse lawn where   ‘Fridays at the Fountain’ feature local musical artists.

Charlton Park's 39th Annual Father's Day Car Show Cancelled

The changes just keep coming and the adjustments to counter the virus continue to expand into the summer. After some lengthy discussion between the Barry County Parks and Recreation Commission and the Southern Michigan Street Rod Association, the annual Father’s Day Car Show at Charlton Park has been cancelled for 2020 in order to protect the health and safety of our community, our volunteers, and staff.


This yearly tradition brings thousands of people to our community from all over Michigan and beyond. Originally scheduled for June 21, 2020, this would have been been a celebration of all things great about American muscle cars and more!


The Parks Commission is planning for this event to return in 2021. Charlton Park

looks forward to serving the public later in the year at the many other events scheduled at the park.

Food assistance is also available for Barry County pets

The pet food pantry is open at the Barry County Humane Society for residents of Barry County in need of pet food. Mary Fisher told WBCH that they want to help residents and their pets through this covid-19 crisis. 


Although their building is closed, all you need to do is call the Humane Society at 269-945-0602 and make an appointment for pick up during office hours.  The office is open located in the Barry Community Enrichment Center, 231 S Broadway in Hastings,  open Mondays and Thursdays from 10am  to 1pm. 

Update: Suspect identified in Sunfield Township homicide case

UPDATE:  The homicide suspect has been identified as Robert Justin Shepard, age 21.  A Preliminary examination is set for May 11, 2020.  Bond is $1,000,000; must have GPS tether prior to jail release. 


Shepard is charged  with 1st degree Premeditated Murder.  




Eaton County Sheriff’s Office Deputies were dispatched Sunday afternoon to a home on Clinton Trail in Sunfield Township to check the well-being of a resident after relatives discovered her on the floor in the home.


Upon arrival, Deputies found 56-year-old Cheryl Arlene Fox deceased.  The victim had suffered traumatic head injuries and an edged weapon was found near her body. 


Information was obtained regarding a 21-year-old male suspect family member who lived with Fox.   A description of the suspect and his vehicle was broadcast in a statewide bulletin and later in the evening, officers of the Grand Ledge Police Department made a traffic stop of the suspect in his vehicle.  He was taken into custody and interviewed by Eaton County Sheriff’s Office Detectives and subsequently lodged in the Eaton County Jail.  


Jefferson Street Project

Hastings will be completing  a resurfacing project on the 5-blocks of Jefferson street between Grand and Shriner.  The closure of these 5-blocks will begin Monday, May 4th and are expected to be reopened during Wednesday, May 6th.


No parking will be available on Jefferson Street between Grand and Shriner beginning Sunday May 3rd.


Residents living in this area will be allowed vehicle access to and from their driveways for the majority of hours and situations.  There will be limited times when vehicle access is not available during working hours. Construction Supervisors will be available for direct coordination with residents for individual needs during work. Work is expected done by May 6th.


Questions should be directed to the city manager at Hastings City Hall.

Downtown Hastings Street Project

The City of Hastings will close three downtown blocks of State Street between Broadway and Michigan for a re-surfacing project beginning Monday, May 4th.  The closure will require customers, residents, business owners and employees to park elsewhere.  Sidewalks will remain open during the project.


The milling of the old street surface, laying new asphalt, and re-painting is expected to be completed in four days, with the anticipated completion May 8th. City Manager Jerry Czarnecki said the project was being done as soon as possible when sufficient asphalt became available.


Czarnecki said a portion of Jefferson Street between Grand and Shriner will also be re-surfaced.

Board of Commissioners votes to move ahead with County Jail project on November ballot

After years of discussions and many months of studies and public forums the Barry County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution to place a $25-million dollar Jail millage ballot proposal on the November 3, 2020 general election ballot.


The decision was made at the regular meeting of the Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, which was held via a Zoom video teleconference.


Through the County’s Facilities Master Plan, the County determined that it is necessary to replace the existing facility and construct a new County Jail and Sheriff Office facility to provide enhanced security and safety measures and systems; additional needed capacity; improved and updated HVAC and mechanical systems; improved space for inmate processing; accommodations for offices, and space for information technology systems.


The County is considering three alternative project options:   (1) the demolition of the existing facility and construction of the project on the existing county-owned real property upon which the existing jail located; (2) acquiring new property for the construction of the project; or (3) acquiring a site with an existing building and renovating it for use by the Sheriff for offices and constructing a new Jail. The pre-bid estimated cost for each of the project options is up to $25-million dollars.


The project is to be financed by the issuance of general obligation unlimited tax bonds, in an amount not to exceed $25-million, subject to the approval of the electors of the County at the November 3, 2020 election.


The actual language of the ballot proposal will not be considered and approved by the Board until the June 9, 2020 meeting.


Fire Update

Firefighters Monday afternoon were called to a fire on Lacy road just off M-37 south of Hastings.  A building located near a barn sustained heavy damage along with large bales of hay located nearby.

News sources tell WBCH, a wood stove in the building  most likely was a contributing factor.


Felonious Assault-Stabbing

Sunday at approximately 5:45AM, officers were dispatched to the Double Tree Hotel on 28th St on the report of a stabbing. Upon arrival, officers located an adult male victim with injuries consistent with a stabbing. The victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment with what is being considered non-life threatening injuries. This incident remains under investigation, anyone with information is asked to contact the Kentwood Police Department at 616-698-6580 or by calling silent observer.

Prayer Walk held in downtown Hastings

Hastings business owner Lynn Denton reached out to friends at Gun Lake Community Church saying, "Downtown Hastings could really use some prayer warriors to bless the businesses and to pray for their needs. Believe me, there are a lot of needs."


On Friday, several people from across denominational lines came out to walk (a minimum of 6 feet apart) and pray (wearing masks). They prayed for the blessing, provision, increase, and strengthening of our area businesses and their employees, and also for God's covering, good health, protection, peace, and well-being of all the people of the community.


Some of those who participated include Pastor Scott Price of Lifegate Community Church, Pastor Gale Kragt of Spiritual Care Consultants, Pastor Dan Beyer of Gun Lake Community Church, Director Martha Ports and Board Members Sue Larghi & Robin Walters of Family Promise of Barry County, plus several people from Thornapple Valley Church, Hastings Assembly of God, Paster Matt Moser of Hastings  Baptist Church and others who prayed from their homes and neighborhoods.


Karla VanOtteren, Director of Prayer and Healing at Gun Lake Community Church said “In the midst of such difficult times, we can often feel discouraged... like there's nothing we can do to change what's happening, but prayer is something all of us can do!”


Listen here to a prayer for the community:


Governor extends Stay Home, Stay Safe order, requires facemasks in public spaces


Governor’s Executive Order Lifts Restrictions on Activities like Lawn Care, Golfing, Boating 


Friday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed executive order 2020-59, extending her “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order through May 15. The new order will require people to wear homemade face coverings when they enter enclosed public spaces. It will also lift some restrictions on outdoor activities and allow some workers who perform previously suspended activities to go back to work. 


The order will require people to wear homemade, non-medical grade face coverings when they enter enclosed public spaces. It will also require employers to provide at least cloth face coverings to their employees. People won’t have to wear face coverings when they’re taking a walk in the neighborhood, but when they go to the grocery store, they should be wearing one. Under the order, however, no one will be subject to criminal penalty for going without a mask. 


The new executive order will also allow some workers who perform certain previously suspended activities to go back on the job. Landscapers, lawn-service companies, and nurseries can return to work, subject to strict social distancing. Retailers that do not sell necessary supplies may reopen for curbside pick-up and for delivery. Big box stores can reopen “closed areas,” like garden centers. And bike repair and maintenance can come back online. 


At the same time, the order will ease up on some restrictions on members of the public. It will, for example, allow motorized boating and golf (but no golf carts), consistent with sound social distancing. It will also permit individuals to travel between their residences, though such travel during the epidemic is strongly discouraged. And it will clarify that state parks remain open, as they have been throughout the emergency. 


To view Executive Order 2020-59, Click the link below:


Thornapple Kellogg High School

Thornapple Kellogg High School in Middleville was named as a 2020 Best High School in the nation based on rankings published by U.S. News and World Report.


To be included in the Best High Schools list, schools had to be ranked in the top 40 percent of all high schools in the country.


High School Principal Tony Petersen said, "We're extremely proud of our student achievements in many areas  and will continue working and growing our educational opportunities for all students."

The rankings also list school districts by state and region.


Thornapple Kellogg also received word from the Basketball coaches Association of Michigan that Paige VanStee who plays for TK Middleville was named one of the Best of the Best in Division One girls Basketball.

Spectrum Health Pennock to Distribute Handmade Face Masks

Thanks to the generous and ongoing donations of handmade face masks from people throughout West Michigan, Spectrum Health will begin distributing the masks to those in the community who most need them.


Long-term care facilities, home health workers and non-profit organizations aligned with Spectrum Health are among the groups initially identified to receive masks, based on supply and demand.


Spectrum Health will collect the homemade masks at its designated drop-off sites and expresses its thanks to those who have stepped up to create them. The Hastings drop-off site is located at the State Street Center Urgent Care, 1108 W. State Street and is accepting donations Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. 


The decision comes in the wake of a CDC recommendation that everyone wear a reusable mask when leaving their home as a way to slow the spread of COVID-19. Hospital officials at Spectrum Health Pennock state that they will hold a reserve of the hand-made masks collected locally to make sure there is a supply available for immediate use as identified through the United Way of Barry County, the health department and other local agencies.


“Because people in the community have been so generous with their time and talents, Spectrum Health has collected more than 6,000 masks,” said Kurt Knoth, vice president of supply chain, Spectrum Health. “We encourage those who are able, to please continue making and donating masks."


A video with instructions on how to sew the preferred design is available here.


For questions on donations or hand-made masks, please contact Janine Dalman at

Bradford White

A worker at Bradford White in Middleville has tested positive for the covid virus. The company was notified Monday April 20th, of the positive test for the virus.


The worker is quarantined pending clearance from a doctor to return to work. Other employees who may have been exposed to the worker will undergo screening until May 7th. Company officials said  "The area with the reported case was thoroughly cleaned and sanitized on top of our already enhanced cleaning and sanitizing procedures"


The Company produces essential water heating and water storage equipment that is critical to infrastructure and public health.

Another Scam has surfaced

The Michigan State Police in Hastings is advising individuals to be aware of another scam in the area.

A local individual was told by telephone they had won a $100,000 stimulus check. To receive the money they were required to send $800.00 dollars in E-Bay gift cards. If you receive this kind of a call hangup and contact the police.

BEDHD releases latest numbers

As of Monday, April 20, The Barry Eaton District Health Department reports there are 90 positive novel coronavirus cases in Eaton County and 26 positive cases in Barry County. 


7 persons have recovered, 53 persons are under monitoring in Barry County and there has been 1 death.


In Eaton County, 88 are under monitoring, 55 have recovered, and 5 have died.



Spectrum Health Pennock removes triage tent

With effective social distancing slowing the surge of coronavirus patients in West Michigan, Spectrum Health has changed workflows for patients showing COVID-19 symptoms.

“With the current volume of patients arriving at our regional hospitals with concerns for COVID-19, we have workflows and protections in place that allow for effective assessment, testing and treatment while keeping other patients and team members safe,” said, Steven Marzolf, chief nursing officer.  

“This can be managed within the existing structures of our hospitals.”


As a result, the triage tents at the regional hospitals, including Pennock in Hastings, are now in the process of being removed. The tents are used as a strategy to rapidly assess and cohort large volumes of patients presenting with symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

“We’ve been able to accommodate outpatient testing efficiently using a drive-up protocol at our regional hospitals,” said Bernie Jore, chief operating officer, “We do still anticipate a surge, although hopefully with ongoing social distancing, this will be more manageable. If volumes increase dramatically, we can redeploy the tents in a matter of hours.” said Jore.

Triage tents remain open in Grand Rapids at Butterworth, Blodgett and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital as well as at the drive-up specimen collection site located at 1300 Michigan St. NE.

Spectrum Health offers free virtual COVID-19 screenings to anyone with symptoms and may be concerned they have the virus.  People in the state of Michigan who are experiencing symptoms can call the Spectrum Health hotline at 833.559.0658 to be scheduled for a free virtual screening. Anyone with severe or life-threatening symptoms should call 911.

Help Fight Covid 19 with the Michigan 4-H Mask Project

Help Fight COVID-19 with the Michigan 4-H Mask Project, the Michigan 4-H community has stepped up to help. Cloth face coverings are among the strategies to protect against the spread of novel coronavirus and 4-H families across the state have sewn homemade cloth face coverings to protect the public, essential workers, and members of the healthcare workforce. By mid-April, more than 2,400 cloth face coverings had been donated to more 25 different organizations. These cloth face coverings were created in 32 counties by more than 40 4-H youth and adult volunteers.
Though an amazing feat, the need is still great. MSU Extension has a goal of providing 5,000 cloth face coverings in the next 10 days for area community members. Fortunately, the Michigan 4-H community is as great as the need; by working together, we can help to address this need and more.

The newly launched Michigan 4-H Mask Project website (https:www.canr.msu.

.edu/community_service_learning/4-H-Mask-Project/) has instructions for making and donating to our efforts, using basic sewing skills and a few simple supplies. Join us in making a difference in the fight against COVID-19.

Questions about this project? Contact MSU Extension Staff: Anne Kretschmann
at or Gary Williams at

Quarantine Ordered for Mallard Pond Village Apartments

Barry-Eaton District Health Department announced Friday it has ordered a temporary quarantine for residents of Mallard Pond Village Apartments in Hastings, Michigan after becoming aware of a few individuals with novel coronavirus through case investigation efforts.


This quarantine is an effort to prevent additional cases. Mallard Pond provides housing to seniors, who are especially vulnerable to severe COVID-19 illness. During the quarantine period, Mallard Pond residents are asked to not leave their homes.


“The primary goal of the measure is to protect public health,” said Colette Scrimger, Health Officer. “During this difficult time, special considerations must be taken to protect the community’s most vulnerable members. We know that a quarantine of Mallard Pond Village Apartments will be challenging for the residents. To address these issues, BEDHD is proud to partner with several local Barry County organizations to make sure residents’ needs are met.”


This joint effort includes coordination with many agencies to provide necessary supplies such as food, prescription medication, and personal care items. BEDHD is working collaboratively with Mallard Pond Village Apartments Management, the United Way of Barry County, Barry County Commission on Aging, Barry County Emergency Management, CareWell Services of Southwest Michigan, the South Michigan Food Bank, and others to keep the community’s residents safe and well during the quarantine period. 


BEDHD will be communicating with each resident personally and on a regular basis to monitor health, coordinate testing for COVID-19 if needed, and to ensure needs are met.


As of 4/16/20, there have been 20 cases of COVID-19 in Barry County, and one COVID-19 related death.

Barry County Parks Commission cancels 2020 Charlton Park Day celebration

Like with all things COVID-19, The Barry County Parks Commission is unsure what May and June will look like and believes there will be many challenges that lay ahead. 


Dan Patton, Director, said they truly feel that canceling the 14th Annual Charlton Park Day Celebration (CP Day) is the right decision for ensuring public health and safety. "This difficult decision was not made lightly, given what Charlton Park Day represents to our facility and to the greater Barry County Community." Originally scheduled for May 23, 2020, this would have been the park's 14th annual kick-off to summer event.


"This event has been held each year to celebrate our founder, Irving Charlton, and Historic Charlton Park. This community event typically brings together thousands of Barry County residents for free food, fun and celebration. We are planning for this event to return in 2021 and are hopeful it will be even bigger and better" Patton said.


"To our many sponsors, local business partners, and governmental agencies that make CP Day happen, we hope you weather the storm and have a strong economy for the rest of 2020!"

Family Promise of Barry County Celebrates it's First Year

One year ago Family Promise of Barry County welcomed their first family into the program.  Since then, Family Promise of Barry County with the help of volunteers and area churches has provided shelter, security and accountability to ten families!  During this pandemic, they have temporarily changed a lot of how they operate, but are still providing shelter and mentoring families


Family Promise of Barry County is a community response to family homelessness.  They do this by providing temporary housing in host churches and by mentoring families to find permanent solutions to their struggles with housing.  FPBC advocate for their guest families, connect them to other agencies and compassionately come alongside families in their time of need. If you would like to help support or learn more about Family Promise of Barry County visit

Moo-ville Dairy

While many farmers and small businesses are struggling to keep going because of the virus, 

Moo-ville Dairy in Nashville continues to bring their bottled milk and ice cream to the public.

The Nashville Creamery also has stores in Zeeland and Ionia and accounts across the state with many of their sales generated by grocery stores and farm stands. Moo-ville's Troy Westendorp said "they are probably doing double or triple what they normally do."

Virtual Library Cards available at Hastings, Thornapple Kellogg , Delton, Putnam & Freeport Libraries

We are offering virtual library cards to residents of the City of Hastings, Hastings Charter Township and Rutland Charter Township who do not already have a library card.  and now available at Thornapple Kellogg Library and Delton District Library & Putnam Library in Nashville and Freeport District Library. These virtual library cards will give residents free access to all of the digital content the Library has to offer at each of the Library's websites. Fill out the registration application and a staff member will contact you with your library card number.  Then download the apps and start enjoying books on your devices.. If you have any questions, you can use the Contact Us form or email us at


Virtual Cards are available to anyone living within the Thornapple Kellogg School District at Thornapple Kellogg Library website and those in Barry, Hope and Prairieville Townships may get card from Delton District Library website and residents of  Putnam District Library and Freeport District Library.




Barry County Commissioners meet remotely, delay vote on jail resolution

The Barry County Board of Commissioners held an electronic virtual meeting Tuesday to conduct county business. The main topic for consideration was deciding when to move forward with a bond proposal on the ballot to fund a new county jail and sheriff’s office.


Commissioners have already reached consensus to ask voters to approve issuing up to $25-million in general obligation bonds to pay for the project.  A resolution and ballot language for the August 4, 2020 election is on the table.


During discussion several commissioners said the biggest concern they have heard from constituents is the current uncertainty over the health of the economy due to the covid-19 pandemic.  Will voters be more receptive to approving a millage request in August, or should it be pushed back to the November ballot?   


The Board agreed to postpone a vote on the resolution until the next Board of Commissioners meeting on April 28th or May 5th, hoping that by that time they will have a better read on the economy and where voter sentiment toward a bond issue will be. 

First COVID-19 Death in Barry County

Barry-Eaton District Health Department regrets to report that Barry County has experienced the first death in the county due to novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).


The individual was a 59-year-old woman who died on Sunday, 4/12/20. BEDHD will not be releasing further details about the individual.


Barry-Eaton District Health Department urges the community to continue to follow social distancing, quarantine, and isolation guidelines. Following the stay-home order helps protect the health of the community, especially those most vulnerable to illness.


“We are saddened by yet another loss due to COVID-19, and extend our deepest condolences to the grieving family and friends,” said Health Officer Colette Scrimger.  “We encourage everyone to stay steadfast in our efforts to fight the outbreak. This means taking action to follow social distancing requirements, following the executive orders, not leaving your home unless absolutely necessary, and washing your hands frequently.”


To date, there have been 74 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Eaton County, and 12 in Barry County. In Eaton County, there have been 5 deaths, including a fifth death on 4/12/20 which was a 79 year old man. 


For more information, visit,, and

Governor Whitmer Extends, Expands "Stay Home, Stay Safe" Executive Order

Governor directs all Michiganders to stay home, stay safe through April 30 


Thursday, Governor Whitmer signed executive order 2020-42, extending her prior “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order through the end of April. As with the prior order, Executive Order 2020-42 limits gatherings and travel and requires all workers who are not necessary to sustain or protect life to stay home. Executive Order 2020-42 also imposes more stringent limitations on stores to reduce foot traffic, slow the spread of the coronavirus, and save lives.


“Michigan has the third highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country, and we’re still on the upswing. We must continue to do everything we can to slow the spread and protect our families,” said Whitmer. “Data shows that most Michiganders are doing their part by staying home and staying safe. That’s good, but we must keep it up. When we do, we can save lives and shorten the amount of time we’re working through this crisis, which will be good for our families and good for our economy in the long-run. We can also protect critical infrastructure workers like doctors, nurses, grocery store employees, and child care workers. Now more than ever, it’s crucial that people stay home and stay safe.” 


“It’s clear that staying home is the most effective way we can slow the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan,” said Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “This aggressive action will help us protect more people and ease the strain on our health care system.” 


Executive Order 2020-42 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 who meet those criteria, and must adopt social distancing practices and other mitigation measures to protect workers and patrons in the performance of that in-person work.  


Workers who 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 2020-42 at the bottom of this page. To enable these critical workers to get to their workplaces, automobile dealerships will now be allowed to open for remote sales, though showrooms must remain closed. 


Under the new order, all public and private gatherings among persons outside a single household remain temporarily prohibited. Though Michiganders may leave the house to get groceries or needed supplies, the new order encourages people to limit the number of household members running errands to the maximum extent possible. As before, people may engage in outdoor activities like walking, hiking, running, cycling, kayaking, canoeing, 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. The order clarifies, however, that travel for vacations or for any other purpose is prohibited. 


A new section of the order imposes restrictions on stores in an effort to reduce crowds. Large stores must limit the number of people in the store at one time to no more than 4 customers for every 1,000 square feet of customer floor space; small stores must limit capacity to 25% of the total occupancy limits (including employees) under the fire codes. To regulate entry, stores must establish lines with markings for patrons to enable them to stand at least six feet apart from one another while waiting. Large stores must also close areas of the store that are dedicated to carpeting, flooring, furniture, garden centers, plant nurseries, or paint. 


“This doesn’t mean everything will go back to normal on May 1,” Gov. Whitmer continued. “But based on the data we have right now, this is the appropriate window for an extension. It will take time to safely and responsibly re-open the economy, which is why we will continue to provide critical unemployment support and assistance to our small businesses during this challenging time. We will get through this if we all continue to do our part.” 


All individuals who leave their home or place of residence must adhere to social distancing measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including remaining at least six feet from people from outside the individual’s household. 


To view Executive Order 2020-42, click the link below: 

ServiceMaster of Kalamazoo supports local fire departments, first responders

Thursday, the ServiceMaster Company out of the Kalamazoo Office visited the Wayland/Yankee Springs and Martin Fire Departments and disinfected the Fire Apparatus and Medical First Responding Vehicles free of charge.


ServiceMaster Area Supervisor Mike VandenBerg offered their services to do their part in the COVID19 pandemic for emergency services.


Deputy Fire Chief Dan Miller expressed his appreciation for their generosity in looking out for the well-being and safety  of Firefighters and Emergency Medical Responders. 

WBCH to broadcast ecumenical Community Easter Service

Sunday, April 12th from 10 to 11am, WBCH will broadcast a Community Easter Service.  The ecumenical broadcast is being pre-recorded by Rev. Kimberly Metzer, Pastor of Hope United Methodist Church in Hastings, Rev. Linnea Stifler, Rector of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Hastings,  and Rev. Bryce Feighner, Pastor of Green Street United Methodist Church in Hastings, as a way to share the Easter message with everyone in their homes during this time when most church buildings are closed.  


We invite you to listen to 100.1-FM  this Sunday at 10 o’clock for a Community Easter Service on WBCH.

Barry Eaton Health Department recommends wearing face coverings in public

The CDC has issued new guidance for the general public to wear face coverings while in public. Wearing face coverings can protect others from being exposed to coronavirus from asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic individuals. A handout is now available:


As of Monday, April 6, 2020,  there are 7 positive COVID-19 cases in Barry County. One of those cases has recovered and has been released from isolation. There are currently 12 persons in Barry County under quarantine or being monitored. 


In Eaton County as of Monday, April 6, there are 57 positive cases with 24 recovered. 98 persons in Eaton County are under quarantine/monitoring and there have been 2 deaths from the virus.


Residents can assume there is a possibility the virus may be present when they are in public places in the community. We want to reinforce that people should be taking all recommended prevention measures, as testing continues to be limited.




Delton Kellogg Schools offer an extra meal this week

Delton Kellogg Schools invite their families to come out and enjoy an extra meal Wednesday, April 8th, from 4:00p.m. to 6:00p.m. at the Delton Kellogg High School Parking Lot.   Drive up, give your order for number of meals, pick up and enjoy at home.  Make sure you smile and wave to the teachers and principals across the driveway.


This meal offer is in addition to the scheduled Saturday deliveries at the different locations.




Thornapple Manor Covid-19 Update

Thornapple Manor has approved admitting a resident that has tested positive for COVID 19 and has been treated at Spectrum Health Pennock. The patient is no longer contagious.


Resident safety and care is top priority and Thornapple Manor is isolating the new resident and providing dedicated staff in that area.


Thornapple Manor has been planning and preparing for this eventuality since the first case in Michigan was confirmed. The Leadership, Infection Control, and Staff Education Teams, along with the Medical Director, have a comprehensive plan in place that exceeds the recommendations of the CDC, CMS as well as state guidance.


Thornapple Manor will continue to monitor all information and guidance, adjusting its' plan accordingly.  An area in the building has been designated which is uniquely suited for isolation and containment. It is anticipated that cases will continue to increase for the next few weeks straining the resources at our local hospitals. Thornapple Manor is the next line of care for many seniors following an acute illness.


Please follow the stay home restrictions and limit contact with others unless absolutely necessary. In addition the number one effective weapon is hand washing. Please wash your hands often and clean surfaces that are often touched. Should you begin experiencing symptoms please self-quarantine and consult your healthcare provider.

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

Structure Fire

The Wayland/Yankee Springs Twp. Fire Dept. responded to a structure fire at 2569 Oakleigh Street in Yankee Springs Township at 2:47pm Saturday. 


It was first reported that there was black smoke coming from a summer mobile home that was unoccupied at the time.


Firefighters arrived to find heavy black coming from the structure.


Deputy Fire Chief Dan Miller said “There was a garage within 3ft. to the back of the burning structure and a mobile home within 2-1/2 the East.  Both exposures sustained no damage”.


“The firefighters did a great job knocking the fire down”.


Also responding to the scene for assistance were Orangeville Twp. Vol. Fire Dept., Consumers Energy and Wayland Area EMS 


There were no injuries and remains under investigation. 

Suspects apprehended in Al & Pete's breaking and entering

On Friday March 27th at approximately 4:00am, Al & Pete’s Sports Shop in downtown Hastings was broken into and several guns were stolen. Later that day the car that was used in the breaking and entering, a stolen 2011 Acura MDX, was recovered in Kentwood. The vehicle was returned to the dealership where it was taken, but was stolen again on Monday March 30, 2020.


The 2011 Acura was observed in Hastings during the early morning hours of April 1, 2020, and followed into the Grand Rapids area where a traffic stop was initiated by the Kent County Sheriff’s Department and ATF. After a short vehicle pursuit and a foot pursuit all 4 of the subjects in the car were apprehended.


Hastings Police Chief Jeff Pratt said three of the subjects who were arrested are suspects in the Al & Pete’s robbery and also suspects in several other similar incidents across the state. It was confirmed, by one of the suspects that the intent of being in Hastings on April 1st was to again break into Al & Pete’s, however, they were scared away by the police.


Reports will be filed with the Barry County Prosecutors office to have the 3 suspects charged in the breaking and entering of Al & Pete’s. Names, and ages, of the suspects are not being released at this time.


Assisting in the investigation was the ATF, Kentwood Police, Grand Rapids Police, SWET and the Kent County Sheriff’s Department.


New protocol for Barry County EMS providers.

Barry County Medical Control Authority (BCMCA) announces the introduction of a new “Telehealth and Stationary Treatment of Low Acuity Patients During COVID-19 Outbreak” protocol for Barry County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) providers.


The protocol will allow persons who call 9-1-1, with a specific list of low acuity medical concerns, to have a virtual face-to-face consultation with an Emergency Department (ED) physician and, when appropriate, be able to remain safely in their homes.


Dana Yarger, BCMCA Coordinator shares, “the goal of the protocol, which is a new model for EMS delivery and for the individuals they serve, is to keep people home and out of the ED”.


‘It allows us to enhance everyone’s safety – both the patient and the public,’ states Dr. Matthew Scarff, BCMCA physician medical director.


Barry County EMS crews will use an application on their electronic devices through which they can safely & securely share patient information and speak to an on-call ED doctor. Patients will also be able to see and speak with the physician to determine the best course of treatment.


Yarger adds, ‘we realize it will be a shift in what people who call 9-1-1 are used to. Our hope is that they see that when they are advised to stay home that it is the best thing for them and everyone else.


Dr. Scarff adds, ‘this type of protocol is important as we evolve and adapt to not only the COVID-19 pandemic but also the ever-changing world of emergency medicine and prehospital care. This kind of innovation will allow us to continue to provide the best care to the people of Barry County now and into the future.’

Hastings Chief Pratt comments on Stay At Home Order

So how are residents and businesses in the Hastings area doing with the Stay At Home order?  Hastings Police Chief Jeff Pratt talked to WBCH about that Friday morning:



Face-to-Face learning at K-12 schools suspended for remainder of school year

Governor Gretchen Whitmer today signed an executive order that closes all K-12 school buildings in the state for the remainder of the school year — unless restrictions are lifted — and ensures continuing of learning by setting guidelines for remote learning. District facilities may be used by public school employees and contractors for the purposes of facilitating learning at a distance while also practicing social distancing.


“My number one priority right now is protecting Michigan families from the spread of COVID-19. For the sake of our students, their families, and the more than 100,000 teachers and staff in our state, I have made the difficult decision to close our school facilities for the remainder of the school year,” Whitmer said.  “As a parent, I understand the challenge closing schools creates for parents and guardians across the state, which is why we are setting guidelines for schools to continue remote learning and ensuring parents have resources to continue their children’s education from the safety of their homes. There is no video chat or homework packet that can replace the value of a highly trained, experienced teacher working with students in a classroom, but we must continue to provide equitable educational opportunities for students during this public health crisis.”


The Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators and the Michigan Council of Charter School Authorizers are currently developing a Continuity of Learning Plan template application for schools to utilize in order to create their localized plan. The application will be made available by April 3. District plans will need to detail how districts will provide opportunities for students to learn remotely and how schools will manage and monitor their progress.


Every district’s plan will be different and will reflect what’s best and feasible for their community. A plan can include learning by any number of modes of instruction delivery, including a hybrid approach. However they are designed, districts must ensure their plans are appropriate, equitable and accessible for students and families.


If the plan relies on some online instruction, the district should ensure every student who needs it has access to an appropriate device with an ability to connect to the internet. Students and families will not be penalized if they are unable to participate in their alternate learning plan.


Schools should continue to provide mental health care services for students, to the extent possible, and should be ready and willing to help efforts to establish disaster relief childcare centers. School districts will also continue to provide meals for families who need them during the COVID-19 crisis.


If any schools have unused personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies or other materials, they are allowed and encouraged to donate them to organizations that could put them to use.


Teachers and school employees will be paid for the remainder of the school year. Student teachers will still be able to get a temporary certification and current teachers will still be able to get their certifications renewed, even if they can’t meet all the requirements due to COVID-19.


All Michigan high school seniors will be given the opportunity to graduate this year so that they may make a successful postsecondary transition. Additionally, all standardized tests previously scheduled for the remainder of the school year, including the M-STEP and the SAT, will be canceled. There will be a date in October for rising high school seniors to take the SAT and for other high school students to take the PSAT

First COVID-19 Death in Eaton County

Eaton County has experienced the first death due to coronavirus. The individual was a 71-year-old man who died on Tuesday, 3/31/20, and was diagnosed with COVID-19 after death.


“We regret to inform the county of this loss, and extend our deepest condolences to the grieving family and friends,” said Health Officer Colette Scrimger.  “This is a sobering reminder of the importance of staying vigilant in our disease prevention actions.  Not everyone who has the coronavirus will be sick, so physically distance yourself from others as if everyone has it.  Take care to travel outside the home only when absolutely necessary, and diligently wash your hands.”


Barry-Eaton District Health Department is grateful to everyone in the community who continues to follow social distancing, quarantine, and isolation guidelines to protect the health of the community.


To date, there have been 36 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Eaton County, and 4 in Barry County. 

For more information, visit,, and

Governor Whitmer expands Emergency Declaration, Declares State of Disaster

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-33 Wednesday which recognizes the expanded scope of economic, educational, and civic dislocation caused by the COVID-19, and equips the administration to address fully the devastation caused by virus. The order also formally declares a state of disaster.


“Today’s action will allow my administration to respond more effectively to every facet of this crisis. During this time, it’s crucial that Michiganders continue to stay home and keep their distance from others. We will get through this together.”


While the governor has multiple independent powers to address the challenges Michigan now faces, the powers invoked by Executive Order 2020-33 provide important protections and should remain a part the state’s ongoing efforts to combat this pandemic. The individual emergency orders, including 'Stay Home, Stay Safe' expire at the time stated in each order, unless otherwise continued.


The governor has taken a number of aggressive measures to protect Michigan families from the spread of the virus, including ordering businesses that are not critical to sustain or protect life to temporarily suspend in-person operations, and directing all Michiganders to stay in their homes, with limited exceptions.

Covid-19 Barry and Eaton Counties

Update 04/02/20:  Barry County has four positive cases, Eaton County has 36 confirmed positive cases and one death.




The Barry-Eaton District Health Department reports two positive cases of covid-19 in Barry County as of April 1, 2020 and twenty-seven positive cases in Eaton County. Sixty-six persons are under monitoring or quarantine in the Barry-Eaton district. 


BEHD says residents can assume there is a possibility the virus may be present when they are in public places in the community, and all recommended prevention measures should be taken.



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