Local News Archives for 2020-09

Mural project now on display at Thornapple Plaza

In a year when community gatherings have been put on hold, and festivals and events were all canceled, City of Hastings and Thornapple Arts Council staff members decided that it is still important to bring the arts to the community, even if it looks a little bit different.


Dan King, community development director for the City of Hastings, said the group of TAC and City employees who normally work on Hastings Live decided instead to focus on a new public art display this year.  


“This is not our first public art display, but it is certainly our largest and most dynamic,” said King.


“We hated to have to cancel the Hastings Live performances,” said Thornapple Arts Council

Executive Director Megan Lavell, “so we wanted to bring in a different program that got people to the Thornapple Plaza without drawing a large crowd so we can continue to be cautious about Covid-19.”



Lavell said that TAC and City staff decided to ask Nashville artist Shari Carney if she was interested in helping bring the panels to life, and she jumped at the chance to work on her largest project yet. Carney said it took her more than 80 hours to complete the 320 square foot project.


“This project was by far the most ambitious undertaking in my career as an artist,” said Carney. “I was entrusted with the development of the concepts and given full rein on the compositions, color choices and execution. In many ways a dream come true with a few moments of nightmarish terror as I now have a love/hate relationship with spray paint. I'm grateful to have been chosen for this project and hope community members enjoy the results.”


Lavell said it takes a village to bring together arts and cultural programming in Barry County, and this time was no exception. She said Hastings resident and TAC board member Jeff Buehl built the display structures for the panels, and City of Hastings Department of Public Services crew members installed the project at the Thornapple Plaza.


The panels are currently on display at the Thornapple Plaza and will be there for the foreseeable future, said King.


“We hope people will take advantage of this really unique art installation,” he added. “We are really excited to present this to the community.”


For more information about the Community Murals, visit City of Hastings, Hastings Live, or Thornapple Arts Council Facebook pages or

Consumers Energy To Help Michigan Customers

Consumers Energy is providing 12-million dollars to help Michigan residents and small businesses with energy bills, making an unprecedented committment to helping customers and communities that the virus pandemic has affected.


Consumers Energy has set a goal to help 25,000 households and 1,000 small businesses with this new assistance. The funding will go directly to customers in need and to Michigan nonprofit organizations.


The best way for people to get help is to call 2-1-1, a free service that connects people with nonprofit agencies in their communities, including the new financial help that Consumers Energy is announcing.

If a Consumers Energy customer is struggling to pay a bill, they can also call 800-477-5050.

Hastings 4 Theater to reopen October 23rd under new ownership

On the heels of the Governor’s announcement to reopen Michigan theaters, GQT Movies has unveiled a plan to re-open the remaining 11 locations it operates in the state, including the Hastings 4. The Cadillac, Michigan theater has been open since August 7.


“This has been a long time coming, and we are ready to get back to the job of serving our valued customers,” stated COO Matt McSparin.


GQT Movies purchased the Hastings 4 and several other former Goodrich Quality Theater, Inc. locations earlier this summer after Goodrich filed bankruptcy. GQT Movies will honor unused

Goodrich gift cards that customers may still have. 


“GQT will open with the three S’s of our safety plan at the forefront of their efforts; social distance, sanitize, and safely following recommendations. Guest safety through clean and disinfected lobbies, bathrooms, concession areas, and auditoriums will be our priority,” added McSparin.


“All GQT Movies locations will be opening with everyday low pricing on tickets and concessions that are 10-25% less than previous pricing and less than our competitors in most every circumstance.”


GQT Movies is searching for new staff of all ages 16 and up to fill job openings with the new GQT team. For more information, visit




Ann Arbor, MI (Quality 16)

Bay City, MI (Bay City 10)

Holland, MI (Holland 7)

Battle Creek, MI (West Columbia 7)


Ada-Lowell, MI (Ada-Lowell 5)

Jackson, MI (Jackson 10)

Three Rivers, MI (Three Rivers 6)

Kalamazoo, MI (Kalamazoo 10)


Oxford, MI (Oxford 7)

Hastings, MI (Hastings 4)

Port Huron, MI (Krafft 8)

Fatal accident in Richland Township

On Monday 09/28/20 at 4:40am, Deputies from the Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office responded to the area of M-89 near east AB Avene in Richland Twp. on a report of an unknown injury crash.  Richland Twp. Fire Dept. and Deputies located a single vehicle that had crashed near the intersection.  The lone male occupant from the Plainwell area was pronounced dead at the scene. 


No further information is available as to the casue of this crash at this time.  Anyone who witnessed this crash is asked to contact the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office or Silent Observer.  The crash remains under investigation.

Local Football Scores - Friday, September 25

Area High School Varsity Football, Friday Sept. 25:


Hastings 14  -  Lumen Christi 13


Delton Kellogg 46  -  Galesburg Augusta 6


Maple Valley 44  -  Gobles 8


Bishop Foley 21  -  Lakewood 6


GR Catholic Central 50  -  Thornapple Kellogg 7



2 Pickup personal injury accident

The Barry County Sheriff’s Office responded to an accident Friday afternoon involving two pickup trucks at the intersection of east State Rd and Becker Rd in Hastings Township.


Sergeant Scott Ware said a Dodge pickup truck, driven by a 57 year old Hastings man, was traveling west on State Rd. A Chevrolet pickup truck, driven by a 51 year old Hastings man, was traveling south Becker Rd. The south bound pickup failed to stop for a stop sign and turned left (east) into the path of the west bound pickup truck. The driver of the Chevrolet was airlifted to an area hospital. The driver of the Dodge pickup was transported by ambulance to an area hospital.


This is an ongoing investigation and all names are being withheld at this time


The Sheriff's Office was  assisted by Hastings Fire Department, Mercy Ambulance, Thornapple EMS, AirCare, and Barry County Central Dispatch.

Gov. Whitmer reopens movie theaters, strengthens mask requirements in schools 

Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Friday signed Executive Orders 2020-183, which amends the MI Safe Start order to reopen movie theaters and performance venues and 2020-185which requires face coverings for students in grades K-5. 


Beginning October 9, a number of previously closed businesses are slated to reopen statewide, including indoor theaters, cinemas, performance venues, arcades, bingo halls, bowling centers, indoor climbing facilities, trampoline parks, and more. 


Under Executive Order 2020-183, instead of being limited to 10 people, non-residential indoor gatherings and events now must limit attendance to 20 people per 1,000 square feet or 20 percent of fixed seating capacity, with a maximum of 500 people in Michigan’s largest venues. Non-residential indoor venues must require a face covering. Instead of being limited to 100 people, non-residential outdoor gatherings and events now must limit attendance to 30 people per 1,000 square feet or 30 percent of fixed seating capacity, with a maximum of 1,000 people.


Executive Order 2020-185 requires all students in grades kindergarten and up in regions 1-5 and 7 to wear a face covering in classrooms. Prior orders had recommended, but not required, a face covering for grades kindergarten through five.  


To view the governor’s orders, click the links below: 

EEE Spraying


The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says it has finished aerial spraying including Hastings and Barry County  to prevent  the spread of EEE.

No additional treatment is planned, but the department will continue monitoring the situation and may add treatment zones if new cases are found.

More that 462,000 acres have been sprayed.

BEDHD reports 2 new Covid-19 deaths in Barry County

On Thursday, the Barry Eaton District Health Department reported 2 additional COVID-19-associated deaths this week, both Barry County residents.


One individual was a 93-year-old man who died on September 18, 2020, and the other is an 83-year-old woman who died on 9/23/20.  


There have been a total of 571 positive COVID-19 cases in Eaton County and 260 positive cases in Barry County so far. At present, there are 46 active cases in Eaton County and 25 active cases in Barry County.


BEDHD was recently informed that a new testing site has opened in Hastings at the Family Fare Drive-thru Pharmacy.  Visit for more information.  This site will test asymptomatic individuals, which is critical for helping to stop the chain of transmission in the community.

Jon Otis Burnett Back in Court October 9th 2020


Jon Otis Burnett will be back in a Barry County Court October 9th at 9-AM for sentencing after he was found guilty of murder in a August  Trial.

Burnett was found guilty of first degree murder in the shooting death of Gary Peake and Bryce DeGood.

The double homicide took place near Linsey and Lewis roads northwest of Delton in June of 2019.

Fatal crash US-131 near Martin

Tuesday evening Allegan County Sheriff’s Deputies were working a crash with minor injuries on the northbound lane of US-131 in Martin Township and traffic was backed up due to the crash.   A north bound motorcycle was unable to stop and struck a stopped SUV in the rear.  The rider was ejected and tended to by many other motorists until Emergency Services arrived on scene.   The Occupant of the SUV was  unhurt.   The Motorcycle Rider was pronounced deceased at the scene.


The Deceased was a 26 y/o male from Grandville was wearing a helmet, his identity is being withheld until his family can be notified. 


Speed and distracted driving are believed to have contributed to the cause of the crash.   It is currently under investigation by the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office  Crash Reconstruction team. The Sheriff’s Office was assisted by Martin Fire Department and Plainwell EMS. 

UPDATE: Aerial treatment to combat EEE completed in Barry County


As of Sept. 22, EEE has been confirmed in 32 animals in 13 counties – 30 equine and two deer. To date, there is one confirmed human case in Barry County. There is an EEE vaccine available for horses, but not for people. Protecting horses with approved EEE vaccines is an important prevention measure.


In an effort to prevent spread of Eastern Equine Encephalitis is conducting aerial mosquito control treatment in certain high-risk areas of Michigan.  Spraying of two areas in Barry County was completed early Tuesday morning, September 22. 


EEE is one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases in the United States, with a 33 percent fatality rate in people who become ill. People can be infected with EEE from one bite of a mosquito carrying the virus. Persons younger than age 15 and over age 50 are at greatest risk of severe disease following infection. More than 25 percent of the nation’s EEE cases last year were diagnosed in Michigan. The risk of bites is highest for people who work and play outdoors in affected areas.



Update for Tuesday, September 22:


Aerial treatment to help prevent the spread of Eastern Equine Encephalitis resulted in more than 147,000 acres being treated in Blocks 1-1, 1-2, 2-1, 2-2, 4-3, 5-2, 5-3, 6-1 and 13-1. Block 12-1 in Calhoun was partially treated and will be on tonight’s schedule for completion. More than 373,000 acres have been treated to date.

The areas slated for treatment tonight are identified in the Aerial Treatment Zones Map and include:

  • Blocks 3-1 and 3-2 in Oakland County and Block 3-3 in Livingston and Oakland counties.
  • Block 11-1 in Livingston County.
  • Block 12-1 in Calhoun County.

Please refer to the County-level Aerial Treatment Maps for more details of the identified zones’ locations. 

Schedules are weather dependent and may change. The most up-to-date information will be posted here at


2 Year old victim of homicide

On Friday, September 18, 2020 medical first responders from the Clarksville Fire Department and LIFE EMS and a nearby Ionia County Sheriff’s Deputy were dispatched to a residence in the 200 block of W. Ferney Street in the Village of Clarksville on the report of a child choking and not breathing. Upon arrival, medical first responders and paramedics were able to resuscitate 2 year old Colton Sceviour, of Clarksville and transport him to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids in critical condition where he later died.


Emergency Personnel had been told that toddler had been choking on his breakfast, however it was determined that the boy had been the victim of child abuse and determined the manner of death as homicide.


On Friday evening, Ionia County Sheriff’s Deputies and Detectives met with subjects involved in the case, and took 27 year Matthew Ryan Rademacher of Clarksville into custody for the homicide. Rademacher is the live-in boyfriend of the child’s mother. 


Rademacher was arraigned on Homicide- Felony Murder, and Child Abuse 1st Degree (both Life Offenses) in the 64A District Court. He is held without bond in the Ionia County Jail pending upcoming court appearances.

Marijuana Lockboxes Available at the Barry-Eaton District Health Department

The Barry-Eaton District Health Department (BEDHD) encourages marijuana users to do so safely.


This year, BEDHD received funding from Michigan Licensing and Regulation Affairs (LARA) to launch a harm reduction campaign called Weed Facts, which focuses on 7 facts relating to marijuana, with the ultimate goal of encouraging safety before and during marijuana use. These facts are:


  1. Keep marijuana locked up and away from kids
  2. Marijuana hinders brain development in adolescents
  3. Driving high is illegal and is considered as DUI
  4. Marijuana is only legal if you’re 21 or have a prescription
  5. Marijuana in pregnancy or breastfeeding can harm the baby
  6. Most teens don’t use marijuana – 1 in 14 teens say they used in the past month
  7. Marijuana can be addictive – especially if you start using as a teen


As part of the campaign, BEDHD is providing lock boxes free of charge to encourage safe storage of marijuana products. Individuals interested in picking up a lock box can visit either the Hastings or Charlotte Environmental Health or Clinic offices. BEDHD will not be collecting information from those who take a lock box, but ask that only 1 is taken per household.

EEE Update


New cases of the mosquito-borne illness Eastern Equine Encephalitis have led the state health department to expand aerial mosquito spraying on Thursday.

Six additional horses were diagnosed with the virus bringing the total statewide to 28 cases in 11-counties. Livingston County is the latest county to be added to the list for treatment.

Areas slated for treatment last night (Thursday) from dusk to dawn, weather and time  permitting were Barry County including Hastings, Kent, Newaygo, Oceana, Muskegon, Mecosta, Ionia and Jackson Counties.

Big Ten Football to resume in October

The Big Ten will kick off its football season the weekend of Oct. 24 after the league's presidents and chancellors unanimously voted to resume competition and adopted significant medical protocols including daily antigen testing, enhanced cardiac screening and an enhanced data-driven approach when making decisions about practice and competition. The decision was based on information presented by the Big Ten “Return to Competition” Task Force.


Each team will attempt to play eight games in eight weeks, leaving no wiggle room during the coronavirus pandemic before the Big Ten championship game on Dec. 19. That date will also feature an extra cross-division game for each school, with seeded teams in each division squaring off.

Barry County Individual with EEE

Jeff Wescott  of Hastings is in a Grand Rapids hospital where he is now recovering from Eastern Equine Encephalitis.  Jeff's wife Tina recalls over a few days, Jeff got sicker and sicker..

It has now been confirmed, it will be Michigan's first human case of EEE in 2020.


Today, Wednesday, aerial spraying begins to kill off the mosquito's that carry EEE.

10 counties including Barry County are scheduled for the planned treatment.


As of September 13th EEE has been confirmed in 22 horses in 10 Counties.  In addition to Barry County the counties of Clare, Ionia, Isabella, Jackson, Kent, Mecosta, Moncalm, Newaygo, and Oakland will be treated.



Barry County United Way


Barry County United Way will kickoff its fall campaign this Thursday September 17th in a new way.

Executive Director Lani Forbes said, "we are inviting you to  tune in our Virtual Kick Off events on Facebook  this Thursday September 17th.  Search..."Barry County United Way and Volunteer Center."

This years theme is, "United as one, we change the story of many."

Rep. Calley to hold outdoor office hours

State Rep. Julie Calley invites residents to attend outdoor office hours Monday, September 28.


Rep. Calley will meet with constituents at the following locations:

  • Campbell Township Park Pavilion, Nash Highway between Peddler Lake and Kelm Road in Clarksville from 10 to 11 a.m.; and
  • Bob King Park Pavilion, 100 E. Woodlawn Ave. in Hastings from 12:30 to 2 p.m. A legislative update will be provided at 12:30 p.m., with an opportunity for individual meetings following at 1:30 p.m.

No appointment is necessary. Out of consideration for other attendees, individual meetings will be kept to 10 minutes each.


If you would like additional time or are unable to attend the scheduled office hours, please contact Rep. Calley via email at or by calling her at (517) 373-0842.


“I deeply appreciate the time and insight from attendees,” Rep. Calley said. “We have covered a variety of topics during summer office hours, and I value the opportunity to listen to the people I serve.”

Update: Shooting

Update: After notification of next of kin the victim of Sunday evening’s homicide is Paris Wells, 33-year-old, from Lansing. 


The suspect in Sunday evening’s shooting at the Red Roof Inn in Delta Township, Romaldo Rodriguez, Jr., 37-year-old Lansing resident, has been arraigned and charged with 2nd Degree Murder and was given a $1,000,000 Bond.



On Sunday, 9/13/20 at approximately 9:24 p.m., Eaton County Deputies assigned to Delta Township were dispatched to possible shooting at 7412 W. Saginaw Hwy (Red Roof Inn).  When Deputies arrived, they quickly located a male subject with a gunshot wound on the north side of the building.  The 33-year-old Lansing man was transported to Sparrow and was pronounced dead.  His name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.  A suspect was taken into custody and the investigation is ongoing. 


UPDATE: Middleville Main Street Bridge Closure DELAYED

Update:  The Main Street bridge closure in Middleville that was scheduled to take place from September 14-18 has been postponed. Commonweath Power Company has delayed maintenance work on the dam due to unsafe working conditions caused by recent rainfalls. The exact closure date is to be determined; a notice will be sent as soon as that information is available.

Horse with Eastern Equine Encephalitis found in Ionia County

The Ionia County Health Department is strongly advising Ionia County residents to protect themselves from mosquito bites as a horse infected with Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) has been found in Ionia County.

Michigan is currently experiencing in increase in animal cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis. EEE is a rare, deadly virus carried by mosquitoes that can be transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Persons under age 15 and over 50 are at greatest risk of severe disease following infection and should take extra measures to ensure that they are not bitten by mosquitoes.

EEE is one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases in the United States, with a 33 percent fatality rate in people who become ill and a 90 percent fatality rate in horses that become ill. Signs of EEE include the sudden onset of fever, chills, and body and joint aches. EEE can develop into severe encephalitis, resulting in headache, disorientation, tremors, seizures, and paralysis. Permanent brain damage, coma, and death may also occur in some cases. If you develop any of these signs seek medical attention immediately.

The two mosquito species that carry EEE are most active from dusk until dawn (7:00 pm to 7:00 am). When possible, residents should avoid outdoor activities during this time.

Ionia Fire

It took six fire departments Wednesday night to take down a fire that tore through an Ionia consignment store. The building was  a combination of three-businesses combined and used by the consignment shop, filled with wooden furniture and other items making it difficult to  put out the fire. It took about an hour to bring the fire under control according to fire officials.

Covid-19 update - Thornapple Manor

Thornapple Manor reports that as of Tuesday, September 8, overnight tests results showed five more staff positive for COVID 19.  In addition, four more residents have tested positive for COVID 19.  This brings the total staff positive with COVID 19 to eight and the number of residents to six.  This is the end of the 14 days since the first patient (patient zero) tested positive.  Accordingly, Thornapple Manor has expanded its' COVID 19 isolation unit to eight beds.  Thus far, all of the staff and residents testing positive are from Thornapple Manor's rehab center and it appears that these are due to patient zero.


Donald A. Haney, Administrator, Thornapple Manor said "We are continuing precautions that have been in place and we are doing all we can to limit any further cases.  Safety of our residents and staff is our number one priority. 


So far this week no other staff or residents have tested positive in our weekly testing, although we are still awaiting a few results.  We are testing again today and plan to continue testing until we have confirmed the virus has been completely contained. 


Please contact me directly if you have any further questions or concerns."



Eastern Equine Encephalitis found in Barry County horse

The Barry-Eaton District Health Department was notified on Thursday, September 3, of a horse in Barry County that had died from Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). The horse became ill on August 26, 2020. This is the first confirmed animal case of EEE in Barry County this year. No other animal or human cases of EEE have been confirmed in Eaton or Barry County at this time, however 13 confirmed cases in horses in five Michigan counties have been reported to date. Because conditions are favorable for EEE-carrying mosquitoes at this time of year, people living or visiting in Barry or Eaton Counties should take precautions against mosquito bites.


EEE cannot be spread between animals or between animals and humans, but humans can get EEE through the bite of an infected mosquito. Most (95-96%) cases of human EEE do not cause any symptoms, and less than 1% develop serious illness. However, EEE is potentially serious and symptoms include fever, weakness, and muscle and joint pain. More severe illness can cause swelling of the brain and surrounding tissues. Anyone can be affected by EEE, but persons over age 60 and under age 15 are at greatest risk for developing severe disease.


If you plan to spend time outdoors, BEDHD encourages residents to continue to protect themselves from mosquito bites by:


Avoiding being outdoors from dusk to dawn when mosquitos that carry the EEE virus are most active.


Applying insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, or other U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-registered product to exposed skin or clothing, and always follow the manufacturer’s directions for use.


Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors. Apply insect repellent to clothing to help prevent bites.


Maintaining window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes outside.


Emptying water from mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as buckets, unused kiddie pools, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes may lay eggs.


Using nets and/or fans over outdoor eating areas.


More information about EEE can be found at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services website:


Additionally, domestic horses can be vaccinated for EEE through your veterinarian. If you see an animal that is exhibiting strange behavior or appears sick, avoid handling or consuming the animal and visit to report your observation.


For questions regarding sick domestic animals such as horses, livestock, or pets, contact the Michigan Department of Agriculture at 517-373-1077.

Bradford White partners with Village of Middleville to remove, recycle empty water heater tanks

Bradford White Corporation is partnering with the Village of Middleville to acquire the necessary permits to remove and recycle several decades-old empty water heater tanks that had been submerged in the Thornapple River and became visible as a result of lower water levels caused by local dam repairs.


“At Bradford White, we are committed to being a good neighbor and steward of our natural resources and water,” said Mark Taylor, executive vice president and general manager at Bradford White. “Our goal is to remove and recycle the tanks at our expense.”


These open water heater tanks – which are made of steel and contain only river water – were produced in the early to mid-1940s by the now-closed White Products Corp., which was located approximately a half mile east, upstream and on the other side of the Middleville dam from where Bradford White’s manufacturing plant has been located since the late 1940s.


“Bradford White has been a helpful partner in preparing to remove the empty water heaters,” said Patricia Rayl, Village Manager. “Once the old water heaters were brought to our attention by kayakers enjoying the Thornapple River, our staff reached out to Bradford White to see how we could best collaborate. The water heaters were discovered because the river is exceptionally low in preparation for replacing the dam gates.”


“Our team noticed the submerged tanks several years ago and decided not to pursue removal due to the difficulty and the conditions associated with the removal,” said Erv Gambee, Thornapple River Watershed Council. “We are happy that Bradford White, having recently become aware themselves of the presence of these tanks, is taking the initiative to get the necessary permits and have the tanks removed.”


Bradford White plans to provide regular updates to keep the community informed of its progress.

Caledonia Golfer wins the 103rd Michigan Open


Brett White from Caledonia won the 103rd Michigan open PGA Championship thursday.

White finished at 12 under par at the Grand Traverse Resort.

Ben Cook of Caledonia and the PGA Pro at the Yankee Springs Golf Course finished the tournament at 1-over par.

Whitmer Signs Order reopening Gyms and Pools, Permitting Organized Sports with Strict Safety Measures 

Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-176 reopening Michigan’s gyms and pools in those regions where they remain closed and allowing for organized sports practices and competitions to resume in those regions where they remain restricted, subject to strict protections meant to limit spread of the virus. Gyms and pools may begin to reopen on Wednesday, September 9. The governor also signed Executive Order 2020-175 outlining strict workplace safety measures gyms and pools must follow to protect people from the spread of COVID-19. 


“Today we are announcing the reopening of gyms and pools with strict safety measures in place to protect patrons and their families,” said Governor Whitmer. “I urge everyone who plans to hit the gym after these orders go into effect to take these precautions seriously and do everything in their power to protect themselves and their families. Be smart, and stay safe.” 


“Individuals can now choose whether or not to play organized sports, and if they do choose to play, this order requires strict safety measures to reduce risk,” said Chief Medical Executive and MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “However, we know of 30 reported outbreaks involving athletic teams and facilities in August. Based on current data, contact sports create a high risk of COVID-19 transmission and MDHHS strongly recommends against participating in them at this time. We are not out of the woods yet. COVID-19 is still a very real threat to our families.” 


“On behalf of the Michigan Fitness Club Association, we appreciate Governor Whitmer’s announcement regarding the re-opening of gyms and fitness centers,” said Alyssa Tushman, Vice Chair of the Michigan Fitness Club Association. “The health and safety of our members, staff, and the public in general is our top priority. We are well-prepared to ensure a safe, clean environment and we are excited to offer Michiganders the opportunity to resume their exercise routines. We look forward to working with Governor Whitmer and her administration to help build a healthy Michigan.” 


Under Executive Order 2020-175, all gyms and pools that reopen must enforce strict safety measures. Gyms must require wearing of masks at all times, including times of exercise, configure workout stations or implement protocols to enable six feet of distance between individuals during exercise sessions, reduce class sizes to enable at least six feet of separation between individuals, provide equipment-cleaning products throughout the gym, and more.  


Spectators for indoor organized sports are limited to the guests of the athletes with each athlete designating up to two guests. For outdoor sports competitions, the organizer of the competitions must either limit the audience to the guests of the participants with each athlete designating up to two guests, or limit total attendance to 100 people or fewer, including all participants like athletes, coaches, and staff.  


The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) also released guidance today on organized sports. The document recommends against contact sports at this time, defined to mean those sports involving more than occasional and fleeting contact, including football, basketball, and soccer. It also cites the elevated risk associated with activities that involve “shouting, singing, or breathing forcefully,” and notes there have been 30 reported outbreaks associated with athletic clubs, teams, or athletic facilities. MDHHS’ guidance recommends mitigation measures organized sports teams may take to reduce the spread of COVID-19 during training, practices, and competitions. These recommendations include frequent hand washing, not letting players share towels, clothing, or other items they use to wipe their faces or hands, ensuring proper cleaning and disinfection of objects and equipment, prioritizing outdoor practice, and more. 


“As we begin to start organized sports back up again, I urge school districts and athletic associations to do everything in their power to protect players, coaches, and staff. That means carefully following the guidelines released today by DHHS,” said Governor WhitmerGoing forward, we will continue to work with health experts to assess the risk associated with business sectors that remain closed. For the health and safety of our families and frontline workers, it is crucial that we proceed thoughtfully and incrementally so we can measure the effects of today's actions before we take additional steps towards re-engagement."  


We are pleased with the opportunity to move forward. Our Association continues to work with a team from the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health to ensure the safety of approximately 90,000 players and 11,000 team officials,” said Thomas Faro, Executive Director of the Michigan State Youth Soccer Association. “We will continue these efforts through our return to play guidelines and in strict accordance with Governor Whitmer’s Executive Orders.” 


To view the governor’s executive orders and the DHHS memo on mitigation strategies, click the links below: 

Barry-Eaton District Health Department Achieves Emergency Preparedness Accreditation


Barry-Eaton District Health Department (BEDHD) is honored to announce the department was recently re-awarded the Project Public Health Ready (PPHR) accreditation. PPHR accreditation is an optional accreditation for emergency preparedness. PPHR requires extensive planning for potential future events. By achieving PPHR, BEDHD aims to provide thorough, high-quality emergency preparedness services to residents of Barry and Eaton Counties. This is BEDHD’s second time receiving PPHR, which requires renewal every five years.


“Emergency preparedness is critical in public health practice,” said Jennifer Casarez, RN, Emergency Preparedness Coordinator at BEDHD. “Preparedness for public health disasters ensures quick, organized responses to complicated, serious, and ongoing incidents such as the current COVID-19 Pandemic.”


BEDHD would like to thank the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the receipt of this accreditation status.


To learn more about PPHR, visit

Covid-19 testing at Thornapple Manor, two positive

Tuesday, September 2, Thornapple Manor was notified that two more residents in their rehab unit have tested positive for COVID 19. Both persons have moved into Thornapple Manor's isolation unit.


Staff is deep cleaning the common areas in rehab and those residents' rooms have been quarantined and will remain out of service for 48 hours and will then be deep cleaned as well.


Donald A. Haney, Administrator of Thornapple Manor said neither of the two residents are symptomatic at this time and they remain optimistic that efforts to identify positive staff and residents through routine testing and before they become symptomatic will help contain any further spread of the virus. Haney said "Please know that we remain laser focused on protecting our staff and residents from COVID 19. 

Please contact me directly if you have any further questions or concerns."


Barry County has a new Undersheriff

Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf has appointed Nashville Chief of Police Jason Sixberry as the new Barry

County Undersheriff.  Sixberry was a deputy and later a sergeant with the Barry County Sheriff's Office for over 30 years before being appointed Chief of Police by the Nashville Village Council.


With the recent retirement of Matthew Houchlei the Undersheriff, Sheriff Dar Leaf turned to Jason Sixberry and offered him the Undersheriff  position and at the same time told WBCH  News he would assist The Village of Nashville when ever needed as Sixberry returns to the Barry County Sheriff's Office as Undersheriff.

Bond Proposal for a new Sheriff's Office and Jail


In a recent letter to Barry County residents Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf reviews the events with the Barry County Board of Commissioners leading up to placing a bond Proposal of 25-million dollars before Barry County Resident on the November 3rd General Election ballot. The Bond proposal if approved by voters would provide the money to build a new Sheriff's Office and a new Jail.

Driveby for Thornapple Manor Residents

A parade of vehicles, some decorated, showed up for Tuesday's driveby for residents of Thornapple Manor.  Many of the residents watched outside and enjoyed waving to the passing vehicles.



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