Local News Archives for 2020-07

Delton Kellogg Schools Return to School Roadmap

In a letter to D K parents, Superintendent Kyle Corlett thanked everyone who completed the district survey.  The Return To School Committee met July 29th and plan to release a detailed plan by the first week of August.


Our region is currently in Phase 4 and the district is planning to start the school year in this phase with two different options regardless of the survey results.


DK Virtual School will utliize a program such as Edgenuity or Edmentum to provide instruction. Students will still be enrolled as DKS students and able to participate in extra-curricular activites. Students would need to committ to at least one semester.  DK teachers will serve as mentors but will not be providing instruction.  At grade levels K-5 if a significant number of students enroll for DK Virtual, students will receive instruction from a DK teacher.


DK In-Person regarless of the model used for In-Person instruction, DKS will follow requirements listed in the Michigan Safe School Roadmap.


In-Person Options Return to School Survey asked parents if they would feel more comfortable sending students to school if we were not 100% in-person, but used one of the following hybrid models.


One hybrid model would be alternating days students attend school.  Meaning students would be split into two groups. One group would attend Monday and Wednesday, while one attends Tuesday and Thursday.  Students in the same family would attend the same days.  The days students aren't attending school in person, they would receive instruction virtually on the computer.


The other hybrid model would be only having elementary students attend in-person, while middle school and high school students do school virtually.  This allows elementary students to be spread out into different classrooms and have more staff to work with elementary students so they can work in smaller groups.


Next Steps:  DK Schools will share all details and answer questions once plans are finalized by the DK Return to School Committee.  Information will be shared on

Facebook page.   DKS is purchasing a face mask for every student and staff member as well as clear masks for all teachers.

Thornapple Kellogg Schools Return To School Roadmap


Thornapple Kellogg Schools have posted their  Return to School Plan on their website.  TK will offer two options for all students in the 2020-21 school year.


Traditional In-person learning with students and teachers in classrooms with the required safety protocols. Facial coverings must be worn by preK -12 students, staff and bus drivers during school transportation.Students are required to use hand sanitizer prior to boarding a bus. Any student or staff who is unable to medically to tolerate a facial covering must not wear one.Numerous cleaning protocols must be followed . TK will is required to cooperate with the county Health Dept.regarding protocols for screening students and staff as well as how to respond to positive tests from students and staff.These protocols will be in place prior to the start of school. Phase 5 of state re-opening guidelines will further reduce some requirements. If our area moves back to phase 3, the district will be required to close all buildings and we will move to our remote learning plan until we move back to phase 4.


TK Virtual School where students will have on line learning but still be a registered TK student.If your student is enrolling in TK Virtual School you must complete the enrollment survey by August 7th.  If you choose the TKVS your student will remain a TK student and may opt in for in-person instruction for the Second Semester.  Students are also eligible to participate in sports or other extracurricular activities as the district is able to offer.  Once a student is enrolled in the TKVS they must stay enrolled for the duration of the semester.



Dr. Katherine Bertolini Update for Maple Valley Schools


Superintendent of Maple Valley Schools Dr. Bertolini's, Letter on the District Website update on status of Return To School Roadmap as of July 31. 


We working toward our full release of plans for students’ return to school with us this fall. A series of decisions regarding start date, and types of curriculum offerings will be decided by our board this evening July 31st at a 6pm virtual meeting. I am releasing our proposal for academic options on our district website on Aug.1st.  I encourage folks to go to the website and review the proposals. Our board will be having another meeting on Monday the 3?rd? with the focus of hearing feedback from the community on our proposals. We will meet again on Friday the 7?th? of August at 7 pm to review changes if any need to be made and then we will finalize our proposals for our Return to Learn Plan at ourregular board meeting on August 10?th? at 7 pm.


Throughout this process, we have been working very diligently and our teachers have been awesome in that whilethey are technically on break, they have attended our weekly town hall update meetings and building town halls tokeep apprised of information as we are learning it. Our administrators have been beyond dedicated working long hours and collaborating together to keep working on the safest and best way to educate our students


.All of these efforts have been challenged by some significant factors. First, health and safety are clearly the center of the return to learn roadmap and we are examining every requirement of that plan to determine if we are able to meet all of those mandates. Additionally, as the virus spikes and drops we are keeping a close eye on if we will be back in phases 1-3 again which would mandate school closure. We are trying to create the most seamless transitions if we have to adapt from one learning format to another with minimal notice.


Given the tensions of health preventive measures and personal freedoms, there is a wide range of opinion and stress around the mandates we must follow if we are to reopen for face to face instruction. Schools across the state are struggling with this and many are determining they cannot open safely and will begin with virtual instruction. There are many reasons for this, and those reasons vary across different contexts. Additionally, we have to consider in what format are we most likely to achieve the best educational outcomes for our students? We all prefer face to face, and yet if the health restrictions remove so many of the benefits of face to face instruction we need to be mindful of that as well. This is a learning experiment unlike anything we have ever had to try before.We ask for grace and forgiveness as we try to do our best for our kids, knowing there will be mistakes made and lessons learned for us all. We are committed to getting better every day and we ask for your patience and support as we continually learn and improve. We have many assets in this work together. Incredibly dedicated administrators, steadfast and thoughtful board members, phenomenal teachers and a community which loves its school district. We are going to be ok . Let’s keep working together to ensure we come out of this together too.


Hastings Area School Return to School Roadmap


Hastings Area School System has posted on their website their plans for each phase in the covid 19 pandemic.  Hastings Schools will offer two plans for instruction for the 2020-21 School year. Traditional in person instruction with our teachers, while following the Micihgan safety guidelines in the Return to School Plan. Hastings Schools will also offer a virtual approach in their Hastings Virtual Academy, which is a different online approach from last spring. It is important to have accurate data for a smooth school start date August 24th.  If you are planning to enroll in the Hastings Virtual Academy and have not signed up already, you must sign up by August 14th.


  Superintendent Daniel Remenap, will hold virtual Zoom Town Hall meetings to address questions specific to Parents student grade level.  Tuesday, Aug 4 at 6:00pm  for Elementary Parents , Wednesday, August 5th at 6:00pm for Middle School Parents and Thursday, August 6th at 6pm for High School parents.  The Sessions will also be recorded and available by request by emailing


Of the many changes the school is experiencing, transportation will look different this year.  Students will have to have one pickup and drop off point.  When feasible and safe, Hastings will use traditional bus stops rather than picking up all students at their homes.  High School level, sporting events will be drop off only. Parents will have to arrange transportation home from sporting events.


Another important aspect of this school year will be at-home screening for your child throughout the school year.  The School is asking parents to please screen your daughter/son every morning before sending them to school.  Please take their temperature, ask questions about how they feel (headache, difficulty breathing etc.) and if they know if they have been exposed to anyone who has Covid 19 symptoms.(appropriate to their age).   Students and Staff members will not be allowed to remain in school if they have any illness symptoms.  There will be no truancy consequences or loss of credit, this year for students who stay home due to Covid 19 or its symptoms.

More information about the two different learning options are outlined on the


Thornapple Manor Responds to Housing Crises

Don Haney, Administrator of Thornapple Manor, announced that after an extensive study on the housing crises in the Barry County area and unanimous approval from both the Department of Health and Human Services Board for Barry County and the Barry County Board of Commissioners, they will be building a 50-unit assisted living home. This facility will be located off of M-79 on McKeown Road, just south of Thornapple Manor.


“Our board developed this plan to help eleviate some of the need for housing in Barry County. Our study shows that an essential need is for an additional 90 assisted living units. Our first phase will be building a 50 unit assisted living home offering studio, one bedroom, and one bedroom deluxe choices.” Haney quickly adds “We will be able to build in a fiscally solvent matter that does not require any additional tax burden to the residents of Barry County. The assisted living home will be self-sustaining.”


“We anticipate breaking ground sometime this fall. Our staff is really excited that we are addressing the needs of our seniors in our community with such a forward thinking project. It is truly a reflection of what our staff has addressed when we talk about what the future of Thornapple Manor should look like.” Haney continues “I know that the care and compassion we give to those we serve right now will continue as we embark on this next phase.”


"If you have any questions please feel free to contact me directly" Haney said.



Governor Whitmer amends MI Safe Start order to limit indoor gatherings

Wednesday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-160 and Executive Order 2020-161, amending Michigan’s Safe Start Order and issuing revised workplace safeguards. Under the Safe Start Order, starting Friday, July 31, 2020, statewide indoor gatherings will be limited to 10 people and bars will be closed for indoor service across the state if they earn more than 70% of their gross receipts from sales of alcoholic beverages.    


“After seeing a resurgence in cases connected to social gatherings across the state, we must further limit gatherings for the health of our community and economy. By taking these strong actions, we will be better positioned to get our children back into classrooms and avoid a potentially devastating second wave” Whitmer said.   


COVID-19’s resurgence is closely associated with super-spreading events at large social gatherings, often attended by young people. An outbreak at a Lansing bar has resulted in 187 infections; more than 50 cases have been linked to a single house party in Saline; and a sandbar party at Torch Lake over the July 4 weekend led to at least 43 confirmed cases. Therefore, Executive Order 2020-160 limits statewide indoor gatherings to 10 people or less and, across most of the state, limits outdoor gatherings to 100. (The outdoor gathering limits will remain at 250 in Regions 6 and 8.)  


To view Executive Order 2020-160 and Executive Order 2020-161, click the links below: 

County Board approves Thornapple Manor assisted living complex

Thornapple Manor will build a new 50 bed Assisted Living complex after the Barry County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the project Tuesday. 


Don Haney, Administrator of Thornapple Manor, presented the proposal that indicates housing in Barry County is a need across all income and age levels. The  need was clearly identified at an early 2018 housing summit, which led to an initial market study to determine the demand for senior housing. That market study indicates 60 assisted living units and 30 dementia care units are needed in the county. 


The 50 bed Assisted Living complex will be constructed on a 40-acre site south of the current Thornapple Manor campus on county-owned property at the corner of M-79 and McKeown Road. A long range plan to add 100 independent living units could also be accommodated on the site, if determined feasible in the future. Construction of the Assisted Living complex requires the County Board of Commissioners to pledge the full faith and credit of the County to secure the necessary funding.


A financial feasibility study was conducted to ensure that the complex will be financially self-sustaining without the need for taxpayer support. The financial statement pro-forma assumes a 30-year bond at 4% average bond yield with a total project cost of $10.5 million.



Other items at the Board of Commissioners meeting:


-The Board re-appointed Robert Vanderboegh and Clyde Morgan to serve on the Barry County Planning Comission for three (3) year terms that began on 5/1/20


-A Resolution in Support of 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act was adopted.


-Jennifer Heinzman, Director of the Barry County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Alliance updated commissioners on the Strategic Restructuring proposal for the Chamber and EDA. Heinzman said there are several areas where efforts are currently being duplicated by the Chamber and EDA. The Resturing Plan will streamline administrative efforts, create more targeted workgroups, and increase efficiency. 

Vote Aug. 4 to have your voice heard

Aug. 4 is the Primary Election in Michigan. One provision of new laws making it easier for citizens to vote is the availability of absentee balloting for any registered voter who asks for “no reason.”

Previously, absentee ballots were available only for specific reasons, like health or age.


Irving Township Clerk Sharon Olson sees “no reason” absentee voting as a good thing because it will likely increase voter turnout.


Voters are more likely to vote if they can make decisions at their convenience and put the ballot in the mailbox instead of driving to the polls to vote. Still, she said,” some like to come to the township hall and vote for the community feeling.”


Voters can bypass the mail by bringing their absentee ballot to their township halls. Olson and all the other township clerks will be in their offices before the elections with the hours and dates published in various media.


At Irving’s Township hall, 3425 Wing Road, Olson’s hours are Mondays and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to noon, or anytime during the Saturday before the election or up to the 8 p.m. close on Election Day. If the halls have a secure drop-off box, as Irving does, that can be used anytime.


Even before new safe guards, elections in Michigan were very secure with the state’s election laws, Olson said.


All of the election records are under lock and seal. There is public testing of the voting equipment and township clerks attend classes on current election requirements by Barry County Clerk Pam Palmer, she said.


The poll book, with the names of all qualified voters in the township, now has a bar code for computer reading. It is downloaded to an external hard drive to the Election Day computer and “can’t be hacked,” Olson said.


After certification by the local board of canvassers, the election results are sent the county clerk, and then each county’s results are certified by the state, she added.


“We are also subject to random audits to make sure we are following legal procedures to do with the elections, public testing of the equipment, securing election workers, documents, minutes of the election commission’s meetings, all to protect the security and integrity of the elections. It’s pretty intense,” Olson said.


With the expected surge of absentee ballots in future elections, a new panel of tabulators, the Absent Ballot Board, will record all absentee ballots, with its debut Aug. 4. The board members will be sequestered in a basement office for the day.


Olson will deliver absentee ballots to the tabulators who will not be allowed to leave until after the polls close and votes cast at the hall are tabulated.  Any qualified person who enters the room also may not leave until then. The precaution is to assure no contact with the public or any reporting of trends they may see while processing the ballots.


Irving Township has 2,729 registered voters and 565 absentee ballots for the primary election turned in as of July 27.


Two things helpful to voters: If someone is driven to the hall but can’t physically handle the normal voting process, Olson will send one person from both political parties to the person’s car in the parking lot with an application to vote, wait for it to be filled out, process it, bring the ballot to the voter’s car, wait for them to vote, then bring it to be tabulated.  “That’s not new. It’s always been that way,” she said.

 Also, when people make a mistake on their ballot, they can come in and have Olson spoil that ballot and issue a new one.


Olson is not overly concerned about voter fraud, “Especially in our county. I trust our voters and elections workers. We’re small and we have a tendency to know our voters,” she said.


Now, when a person renews their Michigan driver’s license they are automatically registered to vote unless they opt out. They can also register and vote up to and including Election Day.


For Barry County’s Aug. 4 primary election ballot, see related story here.

Police Impersonator

Monday afternoon Eaton County Sheriff's Office began getting numerous reports of a male subject going into businesses near Saginaw and Canal in Delta Twp and making odd statements.  The subject on a couple occasions represented himself as a police officer and even showed a badge.  Staff at these businesses did not believe him and contacted the Eaton County Sheriff's Office.  Around 4:30 p.m. a deputy spotted the suspect near Horrock's and the suspect ran.  The deputy quickly was able to catch the suspect and take him into custody.  The badge was recovered from the suspect and was not real.  The suspect was also wanted on charges from another local jurisdiction.  The suspect appeared to be under the influence of something and was taken to a local hospital to be checked out.  At this hospital during treatment, the suspect attempted to escape.  Deputies again quickly caught the suspect.  The suspect is currently lodged at the Eaton County Jail awaiting formal charges from the prosecutor.


Golf Gabrielle Shipley



Gabrielle Shipley of Hastings finished in a two-way tie for 4th place at the Firekeepers Casino Symetra Tour golf champions over the weekend.

 Shipley finished at 9-under par at the the Battle Creek Country club picking up a check for over $8,000 dollars. Over 144  players participated in the tournament.

 Shipley has also play on the LPGA tour.

It's no fair, but you can still enjoy Fair Food

Under “normal” circumstances, this was supposed to have been the week of the Barry County Fair (July 20-25).  But as we all know, there is nothing normal about this summer.


Fair Food Junkies take heart!


This Friday July 24, and Saturday July 25, there will be a local food vendor event at the Barry Expo Center grounds from 11am to 7pm:


S&S Bailey’s Concessions,  Dodie’s Fresh Cut Fries,  Genovese Italian Ice,  and The Lucky Fork 


State House approves funding for two Barry County recreation projects

Rep. Julie Calley and the Michigan House this week approved funding for two Barry County recreation projects – helping extend the Paul Henry-Thornapple Trail and adding a shooting range to the Barry State Game Area.


The projects are included in recommendations from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund. The recommendations are made to the Legislature, which is working to finalize and authorize the plan.


“Barry County is beautiful, as anyone who has spent time on the Paul Henry-Thornapple Trail or at the state game area knows well,” said Calley, of Portland. “They will become even better attractions with these enhancements.”


The legislation authorizes $350,000 to acquire 26 acres to extend the Paul Henry-Thornapple Trail in Thornapple Township. The land includes 2.5 miles of abandoned rail bed, which will connect the north end of the trail in Barry County with the south end of Kent County’s system. Most of the property is natural wildlife habitat, including frontage along the Thornapple River.


At the Barry State Game Area, $200,000 would be allocated to build a new shooting range that incorporates sound abatement and other important elements. This new range will allow the Department of Natural Resources to close an existing, substandard location.


Statewide, the measure approved by the House provides $28.7 million for 60 recreational development projects and 18 land acquisition projects.


Money in the Natural Resources Trust Fund comes from the development of minerals on state land – not general tax money -- and is distributed on an annual basis in partnership with local governments. The money must be used for acquisition or recreational development projects, according to the Michigan Constitution.


The Natural Resources Trust Fund program dates back to the 1970s.


Senate Bill 145 returns to the Senate for further consideration.

One staffer tests positive at Thornapple Manor

Thornapple Manor was notified Thursday morning that one staff member has tested positive for COVID 19.  The staff member works in a non-resident area and has minimal contact with residents.

That staffer is off work, feels fine, and is not showing any symptoms at this time.  They will be re-tested and return only after two negative tests.


The entire area has been cleaned and sanitized.  Thornapple Manor’s infection control team is working with their Medical Director and the local health department to take every step possible to minimize any further exposure.


Thornapple Manor has, and will continue to test all staff weekly.  All residents are also tested weekly. 


Don Haney, Administrator of Thornapple Manor said "Please know that our team is doing all we can to minimize the risk to our residents and other staff members.  Our infection control team and leadership are working with our Medical Director and the local health department to ensure all possible measures are taken to limit risk and any further spread of the virus."


"If you have any questions please feel free to contact me directly" Haney said.




Hastings Alumni Banquet

The 133rd Hastings Alumni Banquet scheduled for August 28th is cancelled..

The Alumni Board regret not being able to honor the anniversary classes of 1945, 1950,, 1955, 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, and 1995.

Only once before was it necessary to cancel and that was during World War Two.

New Railings

The new railing replacement project in Hastings started Wednesday with work first being done on the east side of Jefferson street next to the Walldorff building. The east lane including parking is barricaded on jefferson until the work in complete.


When the east side is finished work will begin on the west side of the street.

Mass rally in support of Police

A mass rally in support of Police is set for August 14 in Lansing.  "Stand Up America for The Thin Blue Line" will be held from 12-pm to 4-pm on the front steps of the State Capitol Building. Police agencies, Sheriff Offices and Michigan residents from across the state will take part.


Event speakers include Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf, Dave Agema Retired State Representative and Retired U.S. Air Force Pilot, Brandlee Dean National Radio Host and Katherine Henry, Founder of Restore Freedom Initiative Constitutional Attorney.


City of Hastings Zoning Board of Appeals Hearing

Hastings City Manager Jerry Czarnecki gives WBCH news a report of the City of Hastings Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting from July 21st, 2020


Hastings High School Graduation Ceremony

Hastings High School will hold an In-Person Graduation Ceremony Drive-In Style, Thursday, July 23rd at 7:00p.m. .  Graduates families will watch from the parking lot and be able  to see their graduate come across the stage to receive their diploma.  This year, Parking lot passes were issued to each graduate to enter the parking lot..The Graduation Ceremony is closed to the general public. Friends and family may watch the ceremony on the Schoold Districts Facebook live stream

Barry County Jury Selection

On Monday 75 people were scheduled to be at the Barry Expo Center for jury selection as Barry County Courtrooms move forward toward resuming normal court proceedings.

Barry County took advantage of the Expo Center for jury selection, where there is more space to keep the pool of potential jurors distanced.

The courthouse is open to the public at the judge's discretion, and beginning trials.

Car Fire

Hastings Fire Department quickly extinguished a fire in the engine compartment of this classic Ford Mustang just before 5pm Friday in front of Richie's Koffee Shop in Downtown Hastings.

Hastings 4 & Goodrich Quality Theaters Acquired

Mason Asset Management and Namdar Realty Group have purchased the Hastings 4 Theater and substantially all of the assets of Goodrich Quality Theaters (GQT) out of GQT’s chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. GQT filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in February 2020, just ahead of the COVID-19 shutdown.


Based in Great Neck, New York, Mason Asset Management and Namdar Realty Group are a real estate partnership that specializes in owning and operating enclosed malls, and believes that the GQT theater chain is a natural fit for their  portfolio. They will operate under the name Goodrich Theater NewCo, LLC (“New GQT”).


“We are truly excited to be acquiring and reopening the GQT theaters and we remain optimistic about the future of the industry,” stated Mark McSparin, President of the New GQT. “We will reopen with the main objective of maintaining quality operations for our guests through cleanliness, customer service, and value. The Goodrich name has been in the theater business for 90 years and we believe that it is important to keep the name going for many more years to come.”


Mason Asset Management and Namdar Realty Group have partnered with a theater operating company, VIP Cinemas, to manage and operate the twenty-two New GQT theaters. The theater locations include twelve in Michigan, seven in Indiana, two in Missouri, and one in Illinois.


Mark McSparin further stated, “We are pleased to welcome the majority of GQT’s former general managers and staff to the New GQT team, and are aiming to facilitate a smooth transition to re-opening as early as July 31 at certain locations, pending developments in the COVID-19 crisis.”


The late-July re-opening, if permitted in this state by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, would allow the New GQT time to be “ready, set, GO” for all guests ahead of this summer’s biggest hits, including Warner Brothers’ Tenet (August 12 release date) and Disney’s Mulan (August 21 release date).”


“One thing that you can expect right away is a reduction in concession prices, and in most cases, ticket prices. We have built our other theater operations on the promise of value and will continue to make that a hallmark of the New GQT operations,” VP of Theater Operations, Jake McSparin shared.


The New GQT will honor GQT gift cards and the GQT Rewards program, subject to applicable law. The New GQT will post its safety plans for the New GQT theaters on the GQT website as soon as possible and prior to the re-openings.


MICHIGAN THEATERS (11)                                    INDIANA THEATERS (7)

Ada-Lowell, MI (Ada-Lowell 5)                                 Brownsburg, IN (Brownsburg 8 GDX)

Ann Arbor, MI (Quality 16)                                        Huntington, IN (Huntington 7)

Battle Creek, MI (West Columbia 7)                         Huntington, IN (Huntington Twin Drive-In)

Bay City, MI (Bay City 10 GDX                                 Lafayette, IN (Eastside 10 IMAX)

Cadillac, MI (Cadillac 4)                                            Lafayette, IN (Lafayette 7)

Hastings, MI (Hastings 4)                                         Lebanon, IN (Lebanon 7)

Holland, MI (Holland 7)                                             West Lafayette, IN (Wabash Landing 9)

Jackson, MI (Jackson 10)                                         MISSOURI THEATERS (2)

Kalamazoo, MI (Kalamazoo 10)                                Columbia, MO (Forum 8)

Oxford, MI (Oxford 7)                                                 Jefferson City, MO (Capital 8)

Port Huron, MI (Krafft 8)                                            ILLINOIS THEATER (1)

Three Rivers, MI (Three Rivers 6)                             Peoria, IL (Willow Knolls 14)

Shots Fired

On Thursday at approximately 7:19 p.m., Eaton County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to the area of Elmwood Rd and Saginaw Hwy for shots fired.  Two male subjects who are known to each other were involved in a verbal and physical altercation.  This led to one of the subject’s pulling a hand gun and firing one shot at the other subject.  There were no injuries and the suspect fled the scene in a Silver Mercedes.  He was located and arrested by Lansing Police Department on an outstanding warrant.  The incident is still under investigation by the Eaton County Sheriff’s Office.  If anyone has any further information, please contact Dep. Campbell or Dep. Studley at 517-323-8480.

Lakewood Graduation Walk and Diploma

Lakewood Public School's announced they will hold their Class of 2020 High School Graduation Walk and Diploma presentation Thursday, July 23rd from 5pm to 8pm for The Class of 2020 and their familiy.  The Graduation Ceremony will have students take their walk through  Lakewood High School halls,one last time.with memorable multiple stops for students to receive their diploma and see staff one last time.  Students will sign up for their time slot to take their walk with their family to allow for social distancing with cdc guildelines.


WBCH Congratulates the Lakewood Class of 2020


Shooting Eaton County


Early Tuesday morning an Eaton County Deputy was involved in a shooting.


The deputy was assisting the Michigan State Police in locating a male suspect who stabbed a person at the Quality Dairy Store on Lansing road. The deputy observed the suspect in Delta township driving north and made a traffic stop. Suspect 43 year old Sean Ruis  left his vehicle and violently attack the deputy with a knife. The deputy backed away repeatedly telling Ruis to drop the knive, but he continued his attack and she then acted in self defense.

The Eaton County Sheriff requested the Michigan State Police to conduct an independent investigation of the incident.


Hastings Area School System to offer In Person and a Virtual Program this Fall

Hastings Area Schools System announced on facebook, July 14th, that they will be providing both in-person instruction as well as a virtual education program.  These two options will be available to all students in the Hastings Area School District and their School of Choice students.


The Virtual program is open to all young kindergarten through 12th grade students.  Hastings will be partnering with the leading provider of K-12 online learning, Edgenuity.   Students in this program will also be mentored by a certified Hastings teacher.


Students enrolled in the virtual program are considered full time Hastings students and would be eligible to compete in sports and extracurricular activities provided they meet the eligibility requirements.


Enrollment into the program is a minimum one-semester commitment.  If your student needs to return to face to face learning during the course of a semester, the student would need an administrator’s permission.  If you are interested in the option of a virtual program contact Matt for questions.  Or find the enrollment application on the Hastings Area School Facebook page.


Board of Commissioners

Barry County Commissioners met in person Tuesday for the first time since the county closed to the public and went to virtual meetings at the onset of the pandemic.  The regular Board of Commissioners meeting was held at the Leason Sharpe Hall at the Barry Community Enrichment Center in order to provide enough room to properly distance individuals, which is not possible in the commissioners room at the Barry County Courthouse.


Commissioners heard from John LaForge, Area #9 Director for Great Lakes Energy, about the company’s future plans for Great Lakes Energy Broadband Distribution.


Brad Lamberg of the Barry County Road Commission presented the 2019 Annual Report that showed total revenues last year of $10,820,290  and total expenditures of $10,300,104.  Most of the revenues come from Michigan transportation funds and township contributions, while the majority of outlays are for local, primary, and winter maintenance.


Among other items, the Board of Commissioners approved a request from the City of Hastings to establish a Commercial Rehabilitation District for the former K-Mart building. At least two new businesses are working with the city and building owners to open retail stores in the space.


Commissioners also approved a new Policy and Procedures manual for the Barry County Animal Shelter.

Thornapple Kellogg High School Drive In Commencement Program

Thornapple Kellogg High School had hoped to be able to hold a traditional Graduation Commencement Ceremony in their Stadium, but with Covid-19 restrictions in place the District feels that a Drive-In Commencement Ceremony will be best as it will allow their 2020 Graduates to be together for the ceremony with members of their family in attendance. Thursday, July 7:00p.m.


Each graduate will be permitted one Vehicle for the Ceremony, with no oversized vehicles allowed.  The High School North Parking Lot will open at 6:00pm Thursday, July 16th.

A large covered stage will be set up at the front of the parking lot near the entrance to the stadium and High School.  Large Screens will be elevated to allow viewing with audio through a FM transmitter  .The ceremony will also be live streamed on the districts Facebook page and on the MiTk news YouTube Channel. 


Graduates will remain in their vehicles until directed to approach the stage to receive their diplomas.  Graduates and their family are asked to follow social distancing guidelines before, during and after the ceremony.


Congratulations T.K. Class of 2020!

Single Vehicle Traffic Crash

Troopers from the Michigan State Police Wayland Post are currently investigating a single vehicle traffic crash Saturday around 10:20 AM. The crash occurred on Deep Lake Road in Yankee Springs Township. The driver, a 30-year-old male from Grand Rapids, was driving east bound on Deep Lake Road when he lost control and struck a tree. The driver suffered serious injuries and was transported by Air Care to Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo where he remains in serious condition. Preliminary investigation indicates that the crash was caused by speed. Alcohol and drugs do not appear to be a factor. 

Governor Whitmer mandates "Mask Up, Michigan!"

Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed executive order 2020-147, which reiterates that individuals are required to wear a face covering whenever they are in an indoor public space. It also requires the use of face coverings in crowded outdoor spaces. Most significantly, the order requires any business that is open to the public to refuse entry or service to people who refuse to wear a face covering, with limited exceptions. 


Under the governor’s order, businesses that are open to the public must refuse entry and service to individuals who fail to comply, and must post signs at all entrances instructing customers of their legal obligation to wear a face covering while inside. Those who are exempt from wearing a mask in Michigan businesses include people younger than five years old, those who cannot medically tolerate a face covering, and those who are eating or drinking while seated at a food service establishment.  


The executive order takes effect at 12:01am on Monday, July 13.


A willful violation of the order is a misdemeanor subject to a $500 criminal penalty, but no term of confinement may be imposed on individuals who violate the mask requirement. No individual is subject to penalty under the order for removing a mask while engaging in religious worship at a house of religious worshipalthough consistent with guidance from the CDC, congregants are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings during religious services. 


Whitmer signed the executive order in response to rising COVID-19 cases in Michigan and across the country. 


Over the past week, every region in Michigan has seen an uptick in new cases, and daily case counts now exceed 20 cases per million in the Grand Rapids, Detroit, and Lansing regions. Research confirms that a big part of the reason is spotty compliance with the governor’s requirement, issued in prior orders, that individuals wear face coverings in public spaces.  


To view Executive Order 2020-147, click the link below: 


EO 2020-147 Emerg order - Masks.pdf

Small Michigan Companies receive Funding


Small businesses across Michigan received forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loans from the federal government to help alleviate the financial strain of the virus pandemic.

Here is a list of Area companies that received the money.

TNE Machine in Dowling.

Munn Manufacturing  in Freeport.

Comar Castle LLC in Hickory Corners.

Gilmore Car museum in Hickory Corners.

Gull Lake Ministries in Hickory Corners.

Hickory Cable  Inc in Hickory Corners

Hop Head Farms LLC in HIckory Corners.

Automated Metal Process Equipment Corp in Lake Odessa

Bob Green Trucking in Lake Odessa

Buddy's on the Beach LLC in Lake Odessa.

Carbon Green Bioenergy in Lake Odessa.

Countrywide Farming in Lake Odessa.



Fresh Food Fridays, Farm to Table Extended

The Hastings Band Boosters would like to thank Barry County Blue Zones for organizing Fresh Food Fridays in May and June.  Their commitment to the community has inspired the Hastings Band Boosters to carry on the Fresh Food Fridays Farm to Families program after the USDA recently announced an extension.


The new phase of the program of free Produce boxes (and dairy boxes only available at Hastings High School) is for everyone to take advantage of so bring a cooler and enjoy! The Fresh Food Friday’s will begin Friday July 10th through the 24th.   There are pick-up distribution sites at Hastings High School,, Baltimore Terrace, Meadow Stone Homes, Barry’s Resort, Dowling Library and Johnstown Township Hall.   It is a first come, first serve program and is available for everyone.


July 10, 17, 24th 2020


Hastings High school enter by Tennis Courts 520 W. South St. 9:00a.m to 11:30a.m.

Baltimore Terrace, by the playground, 9:30 to 10:30a.m.

Meadow Stone Homes, by Playground, 9:30 to 10:30a.m.

Dowling Library 1765 E. Dowling Rd. 9:30-10:30a.m.

Johnstown Township Hall, 13641 M-37 Hwy. Battle Creek, 9:30-10:30a.m.

Barry’s Resort, 2875 S. Charlton Park Rd. 11:00 to 11:30am

Drowning at Sandy Pines

On July 7, 2020 just after 12:30pm, Allegan County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a reported flipped kayak with a subject in the water in Salem Township on Monterey Lake at Sandy Pines Recreational Community.


Upon arrival a 75 year old male was pulled from the water and was pronounced dead after failed resuscitation efforts. It appears that the kayak had overturned and the victim was not wearing a lifejacket according to a witness. The incident is still under investigation by the Allegan County Sheriff’s Marine Patrol.  


The Allegan County Sheriff’s Office was assisted on scene by Michigan State Police, Michigan DNR, Wayland EMS, Salem Fire Department, and Sandy Pines Security.   The victim’s name is being withheld pending notification of family.

Hastings Fresh Food Initiative new start time

The Hastings Fresh Food Initiative food distribution is held every Wednesday at the Green Street United Methodist Church parking lot.  Distribution continues to be a drive up style until further notice.  A delayed distribution will now start at 10:00a.m. and run until 11:00a.m.. (this is a change from  operating until 11:30am) The Barry County United Way Volunteers have become effective in the distribution.  They are also eliminating an alphabetical time frame so everyone can come between 10:00am and 11:00am.


A volunteer will meet you  at your car at the designated entrance into the parking lot to have you complete the necessary paperwork, you will then move forward in the line to hand off your paperwork and receive your bag of food and exit the parking lot.  This program is non-qualifing, one bag per household and you must be a Barry County resident.


This program is directed by Barry County United Way for more information call 269-945-4010.  If you are in need of additional food resources call 211.


Accidental drowning of a child

On July 5, 2020 at 7:30pm, Deputies from the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office, as well as Public Safety Officers from the Ionia Department of Public Safety and LIFE EMS were dispatched to a residence in  Ionia for the report of a 2 year old child found unresponsive in a swimming pool at the residence.


Deputies and first responders arriving on scene began immediate life saving actions in an attempt to revive the child, who was transported to Sparrow Hospital in Ionia where the child was pronounced deceased. 


The Ionia County Sheriff’s Office is continuing the investigate the incident, including coordinating with Michigan Child Protective Services.  There is no indication of foul play at this time, and the exact circumstances of how this incident occurred is the subject of the joint investigation. 


Further details will not be released until the conclusion of the investigation and the case has been sent to the Ionia County Prosecutor for review. 


The Ionia County Sheriff’s Office was assisted on this case by the Ionia Department of Public Safety, LIFE EMS, Ionia County Central Dispatch, and the Ionia County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Three team members at Gun Lake Casino test positive for Covid-19

Gun Lake Casino Tuesday morning confirmed that three of its employees have tested positive for COVID-19.  The first confirmed case was announced Friday. That employee, a member of its table games supervisory team, tested positive for COVID-19 last week. The casino said the employee did not have had regular contact with chips or cards.


After the first confirmed case, Gun Lake Casino says two more employees tested positive for the virus through routine testing and contact tracing. One of the employees who tested positive works in Stage 131, an entertainment venue and bar within the casino. The other hasn’t been on the property since the casino temporarily closed on March 16, according to the casino.


The casino noted on its' website that the positive tests account for less than .25% of its total number of employees.  As part of it’s “Play It Safe” initiative, Gun Lake Casino is taking the following steps in response to presumptive positive or confirmed positive coronavirus tests:


  • “Team Members with a positive test result are required to self-quarantine for a minimum of 14 days and receive a negative Coronavirus test before returning to the property.
  • “All Team Members identified through contact tracing in close contact with a positive case are notified immediately, required to self-quarantine for a minimum of 14 days and remain off property until a negative Coronavirus test result is received.
  • “Gun Lake Casino utilizes heightened testing requirements for all Team Members working in guest-facing roles.  This higher volume, regular testing pattern further protects both Team Members and Guests by providing early detection.
  • “Gun Lake Casino has completed a terminal cleaning protocol for all key areas and will remain open and continue to monitor the situation.
  • “The Allegan County Health Department and Tribal Health and Human Services (HHS) are immediately informed of all presumptive positive and confirmed cases.
  • “Gun Lake Casino works alongside the Allegan County Health Department and Tribal Health and Human Services (HHS) to comply with all requirements and guidelines when informing the public of positive Coronavirus cases.”

The casino stated that every employee who tests positive or is identified through contact tracing in connection to a positive case will be paid through a COVID-19 leave of absence policy to assist them in preparing to return to work at Gun Lake Casino.

Power Outage

A few Consumers Energy Customers lost their electric service monday night.

The problem was a mechanical equipment failure at the corner of Jefferson and Clinton streets in Hastings.

 The power was out for a little over two hours and back in service shortly before 9-pm.

Bellevue Man Drowns

A 24 year old Bellevue man drowned after unknowingly walking into deep water at Leidy Lake in St. Joseph County over the weekend.

The St. Joseph County Sheriff said the man didn't know how to swim.

The drowning took place at the Leidy Lake campground on Saturday.

Deputies said the man was pulled from the water by his family and others in the area. Rescue personnel crews tried to revive him but was pronounced dead.


Fatal boating accident on Gull Lake

On Sunday, July 5th at 1:44 p.m., Emergency personnel were dispatched to Gull Lake in Ross Twp for a boating accident. A male swimming in the lake was struck by a boat. The male was taken to shore where life saving measures were taken. Ultimately the male died due to his injuries.


The investigation is ongoing and the name of the victim is being withheld until family is notified. The Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by Augusta-Ross Fire, Life Care EMS, Michigan State Police and Augusta police.

Car Museum Hosts Delton Kellogg Graduation & Concert

When the Gilmore Car Museum reopened to the public after the state-mandated three-month shutdown, they announced two major events completely out of their “wheelhouse.”


The Museum will host a graduation ceremony for Delton Kellogg high school, followed the next day by a special concert by a nationally acclaimed band – both set in an outdoor drive-in theater style.


As many restrictions were lifted, Museum spokesperson Ken Fischang explained, we felt it important to offer our neighbors—our community—hope that we’re all making a comeback.


The Museum’s Community Comeback weekend, begins Friday, July 10th with a complete graduation ceremony for the Delton-Kellogg High School class of 2020. On Saturday evening, July 11th the Museum welcomes Grammy Award winning artists of THE ENGLISH RAIN, a celebrated BEATLES cover-band from Nashville, TN for a drive-in style fundraising concert.


Both events, the high school graduation ceremony on Friday and the Saturday evening fund-raising concert, will be set in an outdoor drive-in theater style where guests either stay in their cars or sit near them in their own lawn chairs for social distancing.


The Museum will transform one of their large car show fields on the 90-acre historic campus into a drive-in setting. Families and ticket holders will park their cars in front of an elevated stage complete with the sound system and the ability to listen from a car’s FM radio.


Admission to the graduation will be made through the school district. The limited number of drive-in concert tickets (offered by advanced sale only), are available at and cost only $28 per carload. Funds raised by the concert will go toward many of the Museum’s free community engagement efforts such as its high school auto restoration program, K-12 field trips, weekly cruise-in nights and free active military admissions.



Health Dept. says positive individual was present at Charlotte garage sale

Barry-Eaton District Health Department (BEDHD) is informing the public that on Friday, June 26th, Saturday, June 27th an individual who was pre-symptomatic with covid-19 was working at a garage sale at 1748 W. Kalamo Highway outside Charlotte, Michigan. The individual developed symptoms on Sunday, June 28th. Persons with the virus are considered able to spread the disease for 48 hours prior to developing symptoms.


Individuals who were at the garage sale are considered exposed to the virus. These individuals should monitor themselves for symptoms and take precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19 by wearing masks when indoors in public, washing their hands frequently, and staying home as much as possible for 14 days after exposure.


Since it has been several days since the sale, it is unknown whether items purchased may be infectious. Individuals who bought items may wish to sanitize their purchases. Cloth items may be machine washed and dried.

Tree Service Scam

A tree service in Barry County reported by Fox 17 is accused of taking money and not doing the work.

Now a third person claims they too were ripped off by the same person.

The report says Darren Huffman of Darren's Tree Service was hired to take down a tree damaged in May. A receipt shows the person put down $500 cash for a $1,000 job they say never was completed.




Whitmer closes indoor service at bars, allows cocktails-to-go

Governor Whitmer today signed an Executive Order closing indoor service at bars throughout most of lower Michigan to protect the progress Michigan has made against COVID-19. Regions 6 and 8, which include the Upper Peninsula and much of northern Michigan, are excluded from the order.


Bars statewide can continue to serve outdoors. The governor also signed a package of bills allowing cocktails-to-go at bars and restaurants to help these businesses serve more Michiganders during this time. 


“We owe it to our front line heroes who have sacrificed so much during this crisis to do everything we can to slow the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the chance of a resurgence like we are seeing in other states,” said Whitmer. “Following recent outbreaks tied to bars, I am taking this action today to slow the spread of the virus and keep people safe. If we want to be in a strong position to reopen schools for in-person classroom instruction this fall, then we need to take aggressive action right now to ensure we don’t wipe out all the progress we have made.” 


Over the past week, every region in Michigan has seen an uptick in new cases, and daily case counts now exceed 20 cases per million in the Grand Rapids, Lansing and Kalamazoo regions. Nearly 25% of diagnoses in June were of people ages 20 to 29, up from roughly 16% in May. That shift aligns with national trends, and the evidence suggests that young people may be driving a new phase of the pandemic. 


As bars have reopened for indoor service across the country, some have been linked to a growing number of large outbreaks. In Michigan, for example, health officials in Ingham County have linked 107 confirmed COVID-19 cases to an outbreak in a single bar in East Lansing. Similar super-spreader events have been documented in bars in Florida, Louisiana, Texas and elsewhere.


Bars are often crowded, indoors and poorly ventilated — all of which make it easy to spread COVID-19 from person to person. Bars also encourage mingling among groups and facilitate close contact over an extended period of time. They are noisy, requiring raised voices and allowing for more projection of viral droplets. And they serve alcohol, which reduces inhibitions and decreases compliance with mask use and physical distancing rules.  


“I urge all Michiganders to double down on mitigation tactics like wearing masks, practicing physical distancing, and washing hands, so we can get our trajectory headed in the right direction again,” said Governor Whitmer. “If we open up our economy too quickly, the efforts of the last three months will be for nothing and we will have to go through this pain all over again and put our economy, health and medical system at risk. Nobody wants to move backward. Everyone, please do your part, and let’s show the nation and the world how smart we are.” 


The governor’s order applies to establishments with on-premises retailer liquor licenses that earn more than 70% of their gross receipts from alcohol sales. That means that most brewpubs, distilleries, and vineyards can stay open indoors. Traditional bars, nightclubs, and strip clubs will have to end indoor service. 


Governor Whitmer today also signed Senate Bill 942 and House Bills 5781 and 5811 into law, which allow bars and restaurants to sell cocktails-to-go and expand social districts to allow for more outdoor seating and areas for people to safely congregate while practicing physical distancing.


To view Executive Order 2020-143, which takes effect at 11pm tonight, click the link below:   

Barry Co. Christian School's new learning program

Barry County Christian School unveiled their new learning program they will begin teaching this fall.

Brandon Strong & Michele Hinthorne spoke about it on WBCH. Listen to audio clip below:




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