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Local News Archives for 2021-02

No Parade in Hastings to celebrate St. Patrick's Day 2021

One of the first community events cancelled in 2020 in Hastings when the outbreak of Covid-19 hit was the 16th annual South Jefferson Street - St. Patrick’s Parade. WBCH Radio, which organizes the event, has had to postpone any plans for a St. Patrick’s Parade again this year.

 

“It was one of the first events cancelled last year, and we certainly hope it’s one of the last events cancelled in 2021” said Steve Radant, General Manager of WBCH. “We waited as long as we could to see if anything changed, and consulted with Hastings Police Chief Jeff Pratt and the Barry-Eaton District Health Department before making the final decision. Unfortunately, the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions from the Governor and MDHHS, in effect until at least March 29th, prohibit us from holding a public gathering that large.”

 

“But let’s all BE POSITIVE, WEAR GREEN and THINK SPRING!”

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Middleville Village Manager

Middleville residents participated in two hours of public comment regarding village manager Amanda Fisk.  Many calling for her to resign.

 

Fisk became the subject of scrutiny after an online statements were made on her personal facebook page following the death of radio host Rush Limbaugh. She shared an article to her page and laughed about it.  The statement prompted an online petition calling for her immediate removal, with many many residents who signed the petition.

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City Manager Jerry Czarnecki Summary of Monday's City Council Meeting

City Manager Jerry Czarnecki gives WBCH an update from the February 22nd Hastings City Council meeting.

 

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Snow Cleanup

Hastings Department of Public Service Crews were busy Tuesday morning removing the snow from downtown Hastings. Large loaders dumped the snow into city trucks, then hauled away.

By the way because the snow has covered many fire hydrants in the city, if there is one near your house take a few minutes and clear out the snow from around the hydrant.

Total snow to date in Hastings 42 inches. As of today Hastings is well below the seasonal average which is between 75 to 78 inches.  

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Lake Odessa man killed in Tree Cutting accident

On Saturday, February 20, Ionia County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched just before noon to the area of Knox Road and Keefer Highway in Sebewa Township in reference to a man injured during a tree-cutting accident.

 

Deputies determined a tree had fallen on top of a 62 year old man from Lake Odessa while the man was attempting to fell the tree.  Portland Ambulance and the Sunfield Fire Department attempted emergency lifesaving procedures, however, this accident caused severe injuries and the man was pronounced dead at the scene. His name has not been released.

 

The Ionia County Sheriff’s Office is investigating this accidental death with the assistance of the Ionia County Medical Examiner.  Assisting agencies were Ionia County Central Dispatch, Portland Ambulance, the Sunfield Fire Department, and Portland Fire Department.

 

 

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Homicide Update - Victim Identified

UPDATE:  The victim has been identified as Gracyn-Michael Brickley, 18 years of age from Ionia County.

 

Nashville Police and Barry County Sheriff’s Deputies were notified Wednesday afternoon, February 17th, of a possible assault and murder at or near a residence southwest of Nashville on Guy Rd. in Maple Grove Township. Subsequently, the body of 18 year old Gracyn-Michael Brickly of Ionia was located outside, covered in snow.

 

A male suspect was taken into custody. 

 

Barry County Prosecutor Julie Nakfoor Pratt said her office has issued charges of Open Murder and Felony Firearm against 21 year old Andrew John-Lawrence Lafey of Nashville.  It is alleged that on Tuesday, Lafey beat and fatally shot Brickley and buried her body in the snow.

 

Lafey was arraigned Thursday morning.  A probable cause conference has been set for March 4, 2021 at 8:30am in Hastings District Court before Judge Michael Schipper.  Bond has been set at $500,000 cash or surety.

 

The investigation is ongoing.

 

 

 

The Barry County Sheriff’s Office and Nashville Police Department were assisted by Michigan State Police, Barry County Central Dispatch, Nashville Fire and EMS, Medical Examiner’s Office

 

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Middleville residents upset about Village President comments

There’s outrage in Middleville over online statements made by village president Amanda Fisk.

Following the death of conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, she shared an article on her personal Facebook page and laughed about it. 

Residents who spoke with FOX 17 say her statements do not represent their village, and as a public official she should step down.

They’ve even started an online petition calling for her immediate removal.

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Hastings City Council begins process to find a new City Manager

Jerry Czarnecki, Hastings City Manager, is stepping down. He submitted his letter of resignation to Mayor Dave Tossava last week, effective May 7th, a move that came as both a surprise and a disappointment to many City Council members who felt Czarnecki was doing a fine job.

 

Czarnecki has been City Manager since 2019. Prior to that, he served as Hastings Economic Development Director beginning in 2017, then moved into the role of City Clerk/Treasurer. Before working in city government, Czarnecki was a teacher for 25 years.

 

While he has enjoyed his time working for the city Jerry said he is “just ready to move on to something else”. He made his decision after contemplating what would be best for the city, his family, and himself.

 

A special meeting of the City Council was held Monday to begin the search process. The council approved spending up to $16,000 to contract with the Michigan Municipal League for an executive search for Czarnecki’s replacement.  Council will review a draft contract for the Municipal League services at their Feb. 22nd meeting.

 

With a three month resignation window, City Council will need to find a new city manager by the time Czarnecki leaves May 7th, or, could decide to hire an interim city manager which would mean Czarnecki could leave sooner.   

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Stranded motorist rescued from bitter cold with help of Emergency personnel, Road Crews, Civilian Heroes

On Tuesday, February 16, 2021, at about 6:44 a.m., The Eaton County Sheriff’s Office and the Michigan State Police responded to the area of Old Saginaw and Fees Road in Oneida Township to assist a stranded motorist.  

 

A forty two year old Mulliken woman got her blazer stuck traveling westbound on Saginaw Hwy. near Fees Road.  She was not able to get phone service initially and started walking westbound.  She was not dressed for the elements, and it was still snowing hard with a wind chill below zero.  She described getting very cold, falling in the snow, and at times crawling.

 

Fortunately she obtained enough phone signal to place a 911 call. Eaton County Central Dispatch stayed on the phone with her and continued to encourage her to keep moving.  She had been out there for almost two hours, and it was apparent that first responders needed to get to her as quickly as possible.

 

It did not take long for responding officers to realize the roads were not passible with the patrol cars. A Trooper located a civilian plowing in the area who was willing to help and started plowing westbound on Saginaw.  A Deputy located a Lawnscapes Lawn Care plow truck working in the area of M-43 and Benton who was willing to help and started plowing southbound on Benton from M-43 and then eastbound on Saginaw.  Grand Ledge Fire and EMS responded assist in the search.  The Eaton County Road Commission was in the area and started plowing coming in from the west.  

 

The motorist was located on Saginaw about 1/10 of a mile east of Benton Road.  She was placed into the back seat of a patrol car until Grand Ledge EMS could get to her.  She was having trouble feeling her extremities.  She was transported by Grand Ledge EMS to a local hospital and treated for the beginning stages of frost bite.

 

The combined efforts between the Eaton County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan State Police, Grand Ledge Fire and EMS, Eaton County Central Dispatch, Eaton County Road Commission, along with some civilian heroes resulted in a successful rescue of someone who was truly in need of immediate help.  This is also an excellent opportunity to remind people when they are traveling to carry weather appropriate clothing and blankets in their vehicles this time year.  

 

The motorist described getting her vehicle stuck in a drift that was up to the hood of her blazer. She was determined to get home and opted to leave her vehicle.  It was estimated she was exposed to the weather for almost two hours and had it not been for getting a phone signal to place a 911 call, she may not have made it.  Nobody ever expects to be in this position.  The preparations and supplies you place in your vehicle can truly be the difference between life and death especially in inclement weather.   

 

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No new Record Low

The over night low temperature in Hasrtings reached minus -13 at 7:12 am. (02-17-21) The record low temperature for this day is minus -18 in 1904.

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Barry County GOP not Happy with Representative Meijer

 

The Barry County GOP censured Representative Peter Meijer for voting to impeach former President Donald trump.

Philip Joseph, the Deputy Chair and spokesperson for Barry County GOP said, "Barry County Republicans were very disappointed by Congressman Meijer's vote to impeach then President Trump.

Our party's action is a reflection of the sentiment felt by conservatives across Barry County."

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Update - House Fire

The Wayland/Yankee Springs Township Fire Department responded to a reported structure fire at a residence located at 196 North Patterson Road, Saturday evening at approximately 8pm.  Barry County Central Dispatch said there was a fire behind the fireplace, in the wall and attic of the home. The residence had been evacuated upon the Firefighters arrival.

 

Automatic Mutual Aid set up a few years ago sent Thornapple Twp. Emergency Services to assist.   The Orangeville Twp. Volunteer Fire Department was requested immediately, knowing more personnel and water was going to be needed.

 

First arriving Firefighters reported heavy black smoke with flames through the roof on the living quarters end of the residence as well as flames coming from the ridge vent. 

 

Firefighters were hampered with 9 degree temperatures while fighting the blaze. 

 

Mutual aid was requested for Water Tenders from the Martin & Leighton Twp. Fire Departments.

 

Fire Department’s cleared the fire scene at 3:30am.  No injuries were reported.

 

Also assisting were Consumers Energy, Michigan State Police, Thornapple Twp.  EMS, Allegan Co. and Barry Co. Central Dispatch Centers.

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Cancellations for Tuesday February 16th

Commission On Aging-No Meals On Wheels delivery today.

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Fairytale Time at the Gilmore Car Museum

The Gilmore Car Museum near Hickory Corners is hosting an event that children and adults can really enjoy.

 

The PRINCESSES & CARRIAGES event combines FairyTale princesses with the museum's vast collection of over 400 classic cars. The event will take place March 6th from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm.

Tickets are limited to 225 per time slot (four time slots total.)

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Gun Lake Casino Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary Milestone

Today, the Gun Lake Tribe announced the ten-year anniversary of the Gun Lake Casino.

 

The Tribe released findings of a new economic impact report dating back to the Casino’s public opening on February 10, 2011. To date, the Tribe has invested $415 million into the Casino, while directly paying $502 million in wages. In total, the Casino generated $2.8 billion to Michigan’s economy in the last ten years.


“This is a proud milestone for the Gun Lake Tribe, our team members, and the supporters in this community who played an integral role in Gun Lake Casino becoming a reality,” said Tribal Chairman Bob Peters. “As illustrated in the ten-year economic impact report we released today, the Casino provided $2.8 billion to Michigan’s economy in the last ten years. We intend to protect this economic engine for many more years to come.”


The Casino directly employees nearly 1,000 team members in gaming operations while paying out approximately $55 million in annual wages. Over the last ten years the Casino directly paid over $410 million in wages. During this time, the Casino purchased over $285 million in goods and services from Michigan-based vendors. Most of that spending occurs locally in West Michigan.


“It is gratifying to celebrate Gun Lake Casino’s 10th anniversary. We are extremely thankful for all of our guests and team members – whom have supported our mission over the past decade,” said Sal Semola, president and COO for Gun Lake Casino. “As we move into the future, I look forward to maintaining our reputation as an economic mainstay in the local community.”


Construction is currently underway on a $100 million expansion that will bring the Casino to 228,000 square feet. The Tribe has now invested $415 million into the property. The current expansion will add more gaming space and entertainment options along with two additional upscale restaurants.


In the last ten years, the Tribe has shared over $150 million in revenue with state and local governments, schools, law enforcement, and civic organizations. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation received over $98 million. The local revenue sharing board which administers local distributions received over $35 million in ten years.


While the economic benefits of employment, vendor spending, and revenue sharing is evident; the path for the Gun Lake Tribe to achieve self-sufficiency while creating a positive economic impact was not without many hurdles. The Tribe spent about 10 years prior to opening the Gun Lake Casino fighting to pursue its federal right to economic development under the law.


During that period, the Tribe won many hard-fought battles in the federal courts, including two separate trips to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Tribe willingly engaged the public in a dialogue to explain why it was pursuing a casino in its historic home community of Bradley. The local community organized a support group called Friends of the Gun Lake Indians (FOGLI) that grew to over 10,000 area residents.


“The tribal community persevered through many difficult setbacks before opening the Gun Lake Casino,” said John Shagonaby, Governmental Affairs Officer, and former CEO of the Gun Lake Tribal Gaming Authority. “We will never forget how hard we had to fight for our legal right to economic self-sufficiency. This has allowed us to acquire more of our homelands where we are proud to build a brighter future for our citizens.”

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B.1.1.7 Variant of COVID-19 Identified in Eaton County

An individual with the B.1.1.7 variant of COVID-19 (also known as the U.K. variant) was identified in Eaton County on Sunday. At this time, further details about this individual are unknown and the investigation is ongoing.


The Barry-Eaton District Health Department (BEDHD) is urging individuals to continue to take precautions against COVID-19, especially as new variants of the virus become more prevalent.

 

These important precautions include:
- Get vaccinated for COVID-19 when available and eligible.
- Wear a mask around others.
- Stay six feet apart from others.
- Wash hands often.
- Ventilate indoor spaces.

 

The B.1.1.7 variant was first identified in Great Britain and may be more easily spread than other variants. At this time, there is no evidence that vaccines are less effective against the B.1.1.7 variant.

 

The first Michigan case of the B.1.1.7 variant was identified in Washtenaw County in January.

 

Several other cases have been identified in Michigan since the first case was announced.

 

BEDHD continues to distribute COVID-19 vaccine to eligible individuals who work or live in Eaton or Barry counties. The supply of vaccine is limited and it will take time to vaccinate everyone. 

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Free Fishing Weekend in Michigan

February 13th & 14th, you can enjoy fishing without a license.   All Fishing LIcenses will be waived this Saturday and Sunday.   A Recreation Passport will not be required for entry into State Parks or boating access sites during Free Fishing weekend.  You can enjoy fishing inland lakes and Great Lakes waters for all species of fish.  All fishing regulations will still apply.  More information about Free Fishing weekend is available at http://Michigan.gov/FreeFishing

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Spectrum Health Offers COVID-19 Treatments to Promote Recovery

Spectrum Health West Michigan will open an infusion clinic at Blodgett Hospital on Feb. 10 that uses monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of COVID-19 under a U.S. Food and Drug Administration Emergency Use Authorization.

 

The infusion clinic at Blodgett Hospital replaces a smaller clinic that has been operating since December at the Spectrum Health medical center in downtown Grand Rapids. Developed with expertise and input from the infectious disease team, the new clinic will provide more space and scheduling opportunities for treatment.

 

These treatments are designated for non-hospitalized patients in the early stage of COVID-19 with mild to moderate symptoms, and who are at risk for developing severe COVID-19 disease.

 

The infusion process in total is approximately three hours. Monoclonal antibody (MAB) treatment is given one time through a vein (intravenous or IV) for at least one hour.

 

Anyone who meets criteria can contact the COVID-19 Infusion Clinic for possible treatment at 616.391.0351 or covid19research@spectrumhealth.org

 

To be considered for this treatment option, patients must be 12 years of age or older and meet the following initial criteria:

 

-Positive COVID-19 test

AND

-COVID-19 related symptoms have been present for less than 10 days

AND

-Patient is not hospitalized

       AND one or more of the following risk factors for disease progression:

 

-Significant immunosuppression

-Morbid obesity

-Uncontrolled diabetes

-Chronic kidney disease

-Heart disease

-Lung disease

-Age 65 and older

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Updated MDHHS Order Allows Contact Sports to Resume

Today, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) updated its epidemic order to allow contact sports to resume as of Monday, Feb. 8, provided masks are worn during practices and competition. If masks cannot be worn, participants must be regularly tested for COVID-19 consistent with guidelines issued by MDHHS. The order remains in effect through Monday, March 29.

 

For sports where masks cannot be worn and social distancing cannot be maintained all participants must be tested consistent with the program specified in the Testing and Additional Mitigation Measures for Athletic Practice and Play section of MDHHS’s Interim Guidance for Athletics which will be available online at Michigan.gov/coronaviruson Sunday, Feb. 7.

 

Participants need to maintain six feet of distance when not actively engaged in play and wear face masks at all times.Spectators are allowed with up to 250 people in stadiums that seat less than 10,000  and up 500 people at venues that seat over 10,000 people.

 

The epidemic order continues to temporarily pause other venues and activities where participants have close physical contacts and are not consistently masked, likewater parks.

 

 

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Hastings Serenity Club to offer Weekend Warming Station

If you need to get out of the cold and need to warm up, the Barry County Serenity Club located in Hastings at 301 S. Michigan..invites you to stop by and warm up.  Everyone is welcome. The coffee will be on and coats,hats & gloves, hand warmers and some blankets and a sack lunch will be available.

 

The Barry County Serenity Club invites community donations of clean, Winter apparel, blankets or food. Just walk in. 

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2021 Grand Rapids shows cancelled amid continued COVID concerns

ShowSpan, Inc., the producer of many consumer shows in the midwest, has announced the cancellation of the rest of its 2021 “Show Season” at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids.

 

Shows cancelled for 2021 include:

 

  • West Michigan Home and Garden Show
  • Ultimate Sport Show
  • Cottage & Lakefront Living Show
  • Grand Rapids Boat Show
  • Michigan International Auto Show
  • Grand Rapids Remodeling and New Homes Show
  • Grand Rapids Camper, Travel and RV Show
  • West Michigan Golf Show
  • International Wine, Beer & Food Festival

 

Additionally, Kent County, Spectrum Health and Mercy Health, in collaboration with Vaccinate West Michigan, coordinated and opened “The West Michigan Vaccine Clinic” in DeVos Place. ShowSpan’s decision to cancel the 2021 show season will allow the clinic maximum space in the convention center.

 

“In these immensely challenging days we all have had to sacrifice for the common good,” says John Loeks, owner of ShowSpan. “We will certainly step back to allow the county to vaccinate as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.”

 

A decision on ShowSpan’s remaining schedule of 2021 consumer shows in Novi and Lansing, Michigan has not yet been made.

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Hastings Missing Teenager located and is ok

15 year old Kathryn Belle MacKenzie of Hastings who recently went missing has been located  and Authorities say she is ok. no other information was available.

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Wayland Police investigating Gunshots into an Occupied Dwelling

Wayland Police were called Monday night around 9pm to a home in the 3700 block of Windsor Woods in the City of Wayland, for a report of gun shots fired into a residence. 

 

Officers found several apparent bullet holes in the residence.  No one was struck or injured. It is believed the suspect(s) left in a vehicle.

 

Chief Mark Garnsey said Wayland Police are continuing to investigate the incident, which appears to be unrelated to a similar type of shooting that occurred last November 1st.

 

Garnsey is asking anyone with information about the shooting to call Wayland Police at (269) 792 9366 Option #1 and leave your information, name, and callback number, or call the Allegan County Central Dispatch non-emergency number at (269) 673 3899, or Silent Observer at (800) 554 3633.

 

Information can also be sent to waylandpolice@cityofwayland.org

 

The Wayland Police were assisted by the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office.

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City Manager Jerry Czarnecki Summary of Monday's Planning Commission Meeting

City Manager Jerry Czarnecki gives a summary of the Monday February 1st, Hastings Planning Commission meeting.

 

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