Local News Archives for 2021-04

COVID-19 Testing Update – Free Rapid Testing at BEDHD

The Barry-Eaton District Health Department (BEDHD) has a special opportunity for residents in Barry County to be tested for COVID-19. On Monday, May 3rd, BEDHD and Honu/LTS will be at the BEDHD Barry County Office, located at 330 W. Woodlawn Ave. Hastings, MI 49058.


Free drive-thru testing will be done on a first come, first served basis between the hours of 2:00pm and 7:30pm. A second testing event will occur on Saturday, May 8th between the hours of 10:00am and 4:00pm at the BEDHD Barry County Office.


Testing is available to Michigan residents (with or without symptoms) on a first come, first served basis. Please bring an I.D. Minors can be tested if they are with a parent/guardian. State of Michigan is covering the costs of testing at this event. Insurance is not required and no insurance cards will be requested at this event. A team member will be on site to assist patients with registration.


Nasopharyngeal tests will be administered to determine whether persons currently have COVID-19. Antibody testing will not be done at these events. Rapid results will be available in approximately 15 minutes.


Testing provided courtesy of the State of Michigan, Honu/LTS, and the Barry-Eaton District Health Department.

Governor Whitmer unveils plan to get 'MI Vacc to Normal'

Governor Gretchen Whitmer today set the state on a pathway to return to normal by unveiling the ‘MI Vacc to Normal’ plan as the state continues to push toward its goal of vaccinating 70% of Michiganders ages 16 years or older. 


To facilitate this goal, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) will base future epidemic order actions on four vaccination-based milestones that, once achieved, will enable Michigan to take a step toward normalcy using data for Michiganders 16 years or older who’ve received their first dose.


As of April 29th, 48.8% of state residents age 16+ have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.  The vaccination milestones outlined by the governor are:


1) 55% of Michiganders (4,453,304 residents), plus two weeks 

Allows in-person work for all sectors of business. 


2) 60% of Michiganders (4,858,150 residents), plus two weeks 

Increases indoor capacity at sports stadiums to 25%. 

Increases indoor capacity at conference centers/banquet halls/funeral homes  to 25%. 

Increases capacity at exercise facilities and gyms to 50%. 

Lifts the curfew on restaurants and bars.  


3) 65% of Michiganders (5,262,996 residents), plus two weeks

Lifts all indoor % capacity limits, requiring only social distancing between parties. 

Further relaxes limits on residential social gatherings. 


4) 70% of Michiganders (5,667,842 residents), plus two weeks 

Lifts the Gatherings and Face Masks Order such that MDHHS will no longer employ broad mitigation measures unless unanticipated circumstances arise, such as the spread of vaccine-resistant variants. 



Rep. Calley to host local office hours April 30, and COA event May 10

State Rep. Julie Calley is inviting residents to attend her April office hours in Lake Odessa and Hastings.


“I look forward to connecting with people in our community each month, listening to their thoughts, and hearing about the issues that matter most to their families,” said Calley, of Portland. “I know many people are struggling right now. I’m available to help in any way I can.”


The informal meetings will take place Friday, April 30:

  • From 10 to 11 a.m. at the Lake Odessa Village Offices, 839 Fourth Avenue in Lake Odessa, and
  • From 1 to 2 p.m. at the Barry County Tyden Center, 121 Church Street in Hastings. 

No appointment is necessary to attend.


The Barry County Commission on Aging is also inviting community members to a conversation with Representative Calley, online via Zoom, or in-person, at the COA on May 10th at 3:00pm.  In-person seating is limited due to Covid protocol. 


Please call the COA by May 7th to RSVP for the event:  269-948-4856



M-37 makeover begins Monday in Middleville-Caledonia corridor

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is investing $7.4 million from the "Rebuilding Michigan" program to resurface approximately 6 miles of M-37 from the north village limits of Middleville north to 92nd Street in Caledonia.


Construction will start Monday, May 3rd. Lane closures and traffic shifts will be in effect throughout the project, which is expected to be completed in mid August.


The project will include installation of a new traffic signal at the intersection of M-37 and Finkbeiner Road/Crane Road.


New concrete curb and gutter, geometric improvements, new guardrail, culvert replacement, new signs, and pavement markings are included.



Car School Bus Accident

A Thornapple Kellogg School bus was hit by another vehicle tuesday afternoon in Allegan county on 108th street. Michigan State Police said a Volvo traveling east on 108th street passed a number of other vehicles and failed to stop at the intersection. Troopers said that's when the car collided with the bus causing it to roll over several times before landing in a ditch. There were no children on the bus.


Police were also called to a truck- jeep crash Tuesday afternoon on M-179 and Whitmore road west of Hasting. Police have not released information on the accident.


City Council Meeting 04-26-21

Hastings City Manager Jerry Czarnecki recaps the City Council meeting of Monday, April 26.



Open burning ban in place

Due to extreme dry conditions, open burning in Barry County is prohibited until further notice. This latest ban went into effect Monday 4/26.

Fatal Crash - Bellevue Township

The Eaton County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a 2-vehicle crash that resulted in two fatalities.  The crash occurred around 9:54 a.m. Friday on Cronk Hwy west of Battle Creek Hwy in Bellevue Township.  Two occupants of a Ford Equinox suffered fatal injuries. They are identified as Troy Bass, 53-years-old, from Vermontville and Loralie Hunter, 71-years-old, from Bellevue. A third occupant from that vehicle is in critical condition. The driver of a pickup truck involved in the crash had minor injuries.


 Detectives continue to investigate this incident. 

Hastings Area Schools K-12 back to virtual Learning April 27th

In letter posted on the school facebook page  to Hastings Saxon families, Hastings  Superintendent Matt Goebel announced that starting Tuesday, April 27th,  K-12 classes district-wide will go to virtual learning and return to in person learning May 10th.  This is due to the number of Covid 19 positive cases and close contact levels. 


High School and Middle School athletics will continue as they will be following rapid antigen testing protocol each Monday before they practice.


Monday's School Board of Education meeting is postponed to Wednesday, April 28th at the Hastings Performing Arts Center at 7:00p.m. with a special meeting of the Board of Education.


Tuesday, April 27th Community Forum #2 will be held in person at Hastings Performing Arts Center and virtually on zoom from 6 to 7pm.   Contact Superintendent, Matt Goebel with questions. 269-948-4400.


Fatal Crash

Saturday afternoon, April 24, Barry County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to M 66 Hwy and M 79 Hwy for a two car fatal accident. 


The preliminary investigation shows the westbound vehicle, a 2012 Chrysler, disregarded the stop sign at M 79 Hwy and was hit by a northbound vehicle, a 2000 Jeep. The driver of the westbound vehicle was pronounced dead at the scene.  The deceased driver was identified as 18 year old, Michael Moskun, from Bellevue, MI.


The other driver and all other occupants were transported to area hospitals with non-life threatening injuries.


This crash remains under investigation.


Culver's restaurant coming to Hastings

Culver's Restaurant franchise is planning to open a Culver's location here in Hastings at the Intersection of M-37 & Green Street near Walmart. The Rutland Township Planning Commission has approved the site plan and special land use permit. Two entrance and exit drive locations are being proposed with one being on Green Street and the other off of M-37 Hwy. Both locations are currently being reviewed by the M-37 Corridor Committee for consideration.

DEA Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Michigan State Police will participate in the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, April 24th.  The Paw Paw, Wayland, and Niles Posts will be participating in this event scheduled to take place between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.


Residents can drop off unwanted prescription medication in each post’s Drug Take Back box located in their lobbies.  Those who plan to participate are asked to empty all pills and tablets into a zip lock bag and remove all labels before recycling pill bottles.  Liquids and “sharps” will not be accepted.


It's important to note that this service is available year-round Monday-Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., however this Saturday’s event is a collaborative effort with the DEA.


10 million people misused painkillers in 2019, which doesn’t include prescription stimulants, sedatives, tranquilizers or other drugs that were also misused.


In the past 10 years, DEA has collected more than 6,800 tons of prescription drugs on Take Back Day.  The goal is to save lives by removing unused prescription drugs from homes before they are misused or accidentally taken by our most vulnerable citizens.

Spectrum Health Pennock to hold 16 and older Vaccine Clinic at TK Middle School

Spectrum Health Pennock announces a pop-up community COVID-19 vaccine clinic Saturday, April 24 from 8 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. at Thornapple Kellogg Middle School gymnasium. Individuals interested can register by visiting or calling 833.755.0696.


Since February 2021, Pennock has administered 6,738 vaccines. As of April 21, the 7-day positivity rate across Spectrum Health’s 13 county region is 16.5%, the highest it has been in several months. Douglas Smendik, M.D and primary care division chief for Spectrum Health stated, “Vaccines are critical to the health of our community, and we encourage people to get vaccinated to protect against COVID-19 and protect loved ones. We are thankful for our partnership with TK schools, the Barry Eaton District Health Department and Barry County United Way and Volunteer Center that is allowing us bring vaccine clinics out into the county to increase access and keep care close to home.”


Vaccine clinic Saturday. Spectrum Health Pennock is holding a first-dose vaccine clinic, in collaboration with Thornapple Kellogg Schools and community partners Barry County United Way and Volunteer Center and the Barry Eaton District Health Department.  The clinic is a 1,000-dose clinic expanding access for people ages 16 years and older to receive their vaccine locally. The vaccine clinic is at Thornapple Kellogg Middle School gymnasium located at 10375 Green Lake Road, Middleville. See the registration process below to get an appointment.


COVID-19 vaccination process. Our scheduling process has changed based on health department guidelines and less restricted vaccine supply.  Go to and click on “Schedule Your Vaccination.” Answer the questions, and you will then be taken to a page showing the Spectrum Health vaccination clinic locations, where you can select an appointment for the TK pop-up clinic, or at the location of your choice.


Those who are 16 to 18 years old, please call the Vaccine Call Center at 833.755.0696 to be scheduled. A parent or guardian must accompany minors. The call center can also help those who need special assistance in getting scheduled.


The COVID-19 vaccine is available at no out-of-pocket cost. Insurance is not required to register for an appointment. If you have insurance, please include that information when scheduling.


Vaccine Hesitancy. Listen to CJ Gibson, MD, surgical critical care physician, as he helps to answer questions for those who may be hesitant to receive the vaccine. 

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Community Conversations.  Join Spectrum Health moderator, Jennifer Pascua, every Friday morning at 9 a.m. on the Spectrum Health Facebook page to learn about a variety of topics related to dissemination of the COVID-19 vaccine across West Michigan to diverse communities. This Friday, the conversation topic is Covid-19, Vaccine & Communities of Faith Part 2 featuring guest panelist, Laurie Braker, MD, Spectrum Health Pennock Family Medicine - Lake Odessa.


All of the videos are accessible on the Spectrum Health Facebook page video section: Vaccine Health Series Playlist.

I-96 improvements begin Friday in Kent and Ionia counties

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is investing $4 million to make concrete pavement repairs and resurface I-96 near Grand Rapids from 28th Street to Thornapple River Drive in Kent County, and from the Kent/Ionia county line (Montcalm Avenue) to Bliss Road in Ionia County.


Lane closures will be in effect during construction. The project is scheduled to be completed by July 1st.


Gun Lake Casino reveals plan for $300 Million Expansion

(Wayland, Mich.) – Today, the Gun Lake Tribe and Gun Lake Casino have officially revealed new expansion plans for the casino’s property.  The $300 million project will transform the current location into a hotel resort with endless amenities.


Gun Lake Casino has experienced multiple expansions since opening in 2011. This announcement continues development on the master planning and infrastructure required to create a first-class entertainment facility.  Construction on Gun Lake Casino’s current expansion is slated to open at the end of summer 2021, and work on the designs for Phase 5 will begin immediately upon completion.


“We are proud of the continued growth of Gun Lake Casino which is directly connected to the outstanding effort of our team members.  The Tribe remains steadfastly committed to reinvest in our collective future, for the benefit of tribal citizens, team members and the local community.  This will provide even more employment opportunities and enhance Gun Lake Casino’s position as a tourism driver for western Michigan.” said Tribal Chairman Bob Peters.


“It is with great pride that we reveal the largest expansion in Gun Lake Casino’s history.  Today’s announcement demonstrates our commitment to maintaining the reputation as a leading entertainment and gaming destination in Michigan,” said Sal Semola, president and chief operating officer of Gun Lake Casino.  “As a vital business in Allegan County, we recognize our ability to invest in our local community.  The elevation of our offered amenities drives our economy through tourism and directly impacts the livelihood of local citizens through the development of new job opportunities.”


Envisioned for those seeking the ultimate entertainment and resort experience in Michigan, Gun Lake Casino’s expansion will add approximately 250,000 square-feet to extend the property going west towards US-131.  The plan boasts spectacular amenities making it a one-of-a-kind destination.


Gun Lake Casino will be home to a long desired 250 key 4-diamond hotel, offering luxury suites and rooms for guest’s comfort.  A rejuvenating full-service spa and 3-meal restaurant will accompany the hotel.


Another high-quality element of the expansion will be a fully enclosed glass domed pool and nightlife entertainment space, offering the climate and atmosphere of an island oasis all year around.  By day, guests will have the option to relax by the poolside, enjoy the warmth of a hot tub or reserve a private cabana.  After dark, the area will transform into the ultimate nightlife scene, featuring live music, DJs, dancing and more.


Additional details about Gun Lake Casino’s expansions will be announced in the coming months.  To learn more information about the property, visit




House Fire

Firefighters from the Yankee springs township fire department and the Wayland fire department responded to a house fire friday evening on palmer drive in Barry County's Yankee springs township.

The house was fully involved as firefighters arrived.


No one was in the home at the time and no reported injuries to residents and firefighters,

the fire remains under investigation.

MDHHS extends epidemic order, imposes mask requirements for children 2-4 yrs. old

Friday, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) extended its Gatherings and Mask epidemic order. It includes expansion of mask requirements to children ages 2 to 4 to further protect the state’s residents.


Although progress has been made, it is crucial that Michiganders continue to mask up and socially distance as the state takes steps to get back to normal.


Expanding the mask rule to children ages 2 to 4 requires a good faith effort to ensure that these children wear masks while in gatherings at childcare facilities or camps. It takes effect April 26, 2021. This addresses the increase in cases among younger Michiganders and follows recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.


"Michigan continues to implement smart health policies and mitigation measures to fight the spread of COVID-19,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director. “This includes the requirement to wear a mask while in public and at gatherings, limits on indoor residential social gatherings larger than 15 people with no more than three households, and expanded testing requirements for youth sports. Additionally, the most important thing people can do right now is to get the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine to protect themselves and their families, and help us eliminate this virus once and for all.”


Click this Link for Info-Graphic on the April 16th order



City Council appoints Interim City Manager

Gregg Guetschow, Ph.D. of Charlotte was selected by the Hastings City Council to serve as Interim City Manager, effective May 3rd.  Current City Manager Jerry Czarnecki’s is retiring, his last day will be May 7th.  Guetschow will fill the position while a search process is completed by the Michigan Municipal League and Czarnecki’s permanent replacement is named.


Guetschow is the President and CEO of Gregg Guidance LLC, a firm that provides consultancy and transitional services for nonprofits and governments. He has over 40 years of experience as a city manager in Michigan. His career began in Otsego as an administrative intern and assistant, was appointed village manager of Dundee from 1979 to 1981, served eight years as city manager for Hillsdale, seventeen years as city manager of Owosso. Guetschow served as interim, then as city manager for Charlotte for 13 years, and was most recently the interim manager for Ionia.


The council approved paying him $80 an hour plus mileage and business expense reimbursement for an estimated 30 to 40 hours a week to perform all the duties and functions of city manager as outlined in the city charter. Guetschow said his goal is to have a smooth transition between permanent managers and to make sure that city government operations “don’t miss a beat”.

Friday is last day on the job for Hastings Police Chief Jeff Pratt

After 34 years in law enforcement, Hastings Police Chief Jeff Pratt is retiring.  It was announced this week that Friday, April 16th will be Pratt’s last day at work for the City, then he will be on leave until his official retirement date later this year.


Most members of the community including some City Council members were surprised on Wednesday when City Manager Jerry Czarnecki announced Chief Pratt’s decision to leave at the end of this week. Pratt has been planning to transition to retirement this year, but it wasn’t expected to happen so soon. Czarnecki said he and Pratt had been in discussions for the last couple months and came to a mutual agreement about it.  Czarnecki is also leaving his post soon; retiring as City Manager effective May 7.


Deputy Chief Dale Boulter will take over as Interim Police Chief, and Sergeant Julissa Kelly will be named interim Deputy Chief. A permanent Chief will likely not be named until after a new City Manager is hired.


Pratt’s career in law enforcement began in March 1987 at the Barry County Sheriff’s Office, where he stayed for only a few months before moving to the City of Hastings Police Dept. in December that year. He became Chief in 2014.  Pratt said he has loved working for the city and that he intends to remain involved in the community. He said he knew it was time for him to move on and “time to let the department move forward and let Dale take over”.

COVID-19 Vaccination Update – Scheduling an Appointment

In response to COVID-19 vaccination coverage rates, vaccine supply and the number of providers offering COVID-19 vaccines increasing, the Barry-Eaton District Health Department (BEDHD) is offering another option to self-schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment. This week, individuals at least 18 years of age will be able to schedule an appointment by visiting the website,


At some clinic locations, same-day and next-day appointments may be available. Appointments for the upcoming week will be added every Friday at 3pm. BEDHD welcomes anyone who lives or works in Barry or Eaton County to sign up for a vaccination appointment through BEDHD. Individuals who do not live or work in the jurisdiction but are best served by one of our clinic locations are also welcome to schedule a COVID vaccination appointment through BEDHD.


If there are no appointments immediately available, persons interested in receiving an email with additional appointment options, should fill out the COVID-19 Vaccine Interest Form. An email will be sent to individuals who complete the form once new appointments open. Individuals may also check our website periodically throughout the week to check for cancelations.


People aged 16-17 must receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. BEDHD is receiving limited amounts of Pfizer vaccine to hold special clinics for people aged 16-17. Parents or guardians of a teenager aged 16 and 17 interested in receiving the COVID vaccine should visit BEDHD’s vaccine scheduling page to view upcoming Pfizer appointments. Currently, Pfizer clinics are planned for April 19th at the Lansing Mall and May 3rd and the Barry Expo Center. Those unable to schedule their child a COVID vaccination appointment, should register their child using the COVID-19 Vaccine Interest Form. An email will be sent to those who registered their child once more Pfizer appointments are available.


People aged 16 and older who require special assistance or do not have internet access or an e-mail address may call the health department at 517-541-2605 to schedule an appointment. If the phones are busy, individuals should leave a message and indicate they wish to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination. BEDHD will return the message within 72 hours.


BEDHD is happy to report 26.3% of Eaton County residents and 25.4% of Barry County residents age 16 and older are fully vaccinated! Data show that 41.8% of Eaton County residents and 37.9% of Barry County residents at least 16 years of age have had at least 1 dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. COVID-19 vaccination is an exciting, and important tool in the fight against COVID.


Michigan is experiencing a surge in cases and it is important to use all the tools available to fight against COVID-19. BEDHD continues to strongly urge residents to adhere to public health recommendations: wear a facemask, socially distance, avoid gatherings, wash your hands frequently, and get vaccinated.

Historic Redevelopment completed in Middleville

The Middleville Downtown Development Authority is inviting the public to celebrate the completed redevelopment of the Lofts of Middleville, located at 101 E. Main St., in the3 village’s historic downtown.


A ribbon cutting will be held at 10 AM on April 24,2021, and many public officials, including State Representative Julie Calley, US Congressman Peter Meijer, and Peter Dickow, regional representative for Senator Gary Peters, will speak to commemorate this achievement.  Representatives from the MEDC and Village of Middleville will also offer remarks, along with the property developers, Joanna & Chad Schlienz.

For the Schlienzs, the redevelopment has been an arduous but rewarding project. There were over 9,000 square feet spread over three floors that took four years and about a million dollars to restore for modern use. Now, families are already living in the upstairs apartments and businesses are preparing to occupy some of the commercial space in this mixed-use building that is more than a century old.


The Ribbon Cutting ceremony will include a brief program, lite refreshments, a tour of the
commercial levels of the building, and the opportunity to view a slideshow chronicling the before
and after evolution of the project.


Guests are asked to wear masks and follow social distance guidelines. Visitors are also invited to stay in town and enjoy festivities happening later that day as part of the Spring Spectacular.

This event is proudly sponsored by the Middleville DDA.

Delta Township Shooting Investigation

The Eaton County Sheriff’s Office is investigating shooting deaths that occurred at a Delta Township home. Around 11:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 13th, deputies were alerted to an address on Old River Trail in reference to a shooting.


Upon arrival, deputies located a male subject in his 40s that was deceased. Deputies also located two children ages 3 and 5 that were suffering from gun shots wounds.  The 5-year-old female child was deceased. The 3-year-old male child was alive and deputies quickly started to render aid.  He was rushed to the hospital by Delta EMS in and is in critical condition. There is not believed to be any continued threat to the public and detectives are investigating.


Sheriff Reich wants to thank Delta EMS, Michigan State Police, MSU Police and the MSP Crime Lab for their assistance with this very emotional scene. More information will be released at a later time.

City of Hastings Spring Cleanup Update

DPS has completed spring clean up East of South Hanover south of the river and now is moving from S. Michigan and Green moving South and West toward Ann and David Drive. This will complete        the Final pickup South of the Thornapple River mid to late Friday morning 4/16/21. DPS will continue to move North of the Thornapple river Monday Morning 4/19/21. Starting on North Michigan and East Mill Street with a final completion date of Thursday morning 4/22/21 finishing on Glenwood.                        ** Please note **DPS will start our scheduled spring fire hydrant flushing on Monday 4/26/21.

Plane crashes at Hastings Airport

Tuesday at approximately 3:10pm, The Michigan State Police responded to the Hastings Airport for a report of a plane crash.  The pilot, a 31 year old woman from Kentwood, had difficulty while landing the single engine Piper Cherokee 180 resulting in the plane veering left and running off the runway. The plane collided with an embankment off the runway suffering damage to the propeller, front of the plane, and part of the landing gear.  The plane was damaged as well as a runway light adjacent to the landing strip.  Besides a minor laceration to the pilots’ forehead, the pilot and a 24 year old male passenger from Frankenmuth were okay.  Gusty winds are believed to have complicated the pilots’ landing contributing to the crash.  The incident has been turned over to the FAA for further investigation.

Motorcycle Fatal Crash

The Barry County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a fatal motorcycle crash Sunday afternoon. The crash occurred on M-179 Hwy near Briggs Rd.


The investigation showed a motorcycle went off the roadway to the right while negotiating a curve and collided with a tree. Both the driver and passenger were ejected off the motorcycle. The 37 year old male driver was unresponsive when first responders arrived. Attempts to revive the male driver were made, but he was pronounced dead at the scene. The passenger on the motorcycle was a 21 year old female. She was transported to an area hospital.


The crash remains under investigation. It is unknown at this time if alcohol or drugs were a factor.

Gov. Whitmer's update on Covid Pandemic

Governor Gretchen Whitmer, and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun provided an update regarding COVID-19 and the continued efforts to slow the spread of the virus and ramp up vaccinations efforts. They were joined by Tina Freese Decker, President & CEO of Spectrum Health. 


The governor announced that Michigan has surpassed five million doses administered and reminded

that all Michiganders 16 and older are now eligible to receive the safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine. 


The governor also gave an update on the current spike in COVID-19 cases and renewed her call for the federal government to provide Michigan additional vaccines, while also urging a high schools to shift to remote learning, encouraging diners to choose outdoor dining or takeout instead of indoor seating, and recommending youth sports suspend in-person activities for the next two weeks. 

MRLA responds to Gov. Whitmer's suggestion to voluntarily close indoor dining

Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association (MRLA) President & CEO Justin Winslow responded Friday to the governor’s suggestions related to a voluntary closure of indoor dining for two weeks.


"While we support and echo the governor’s call for a surge of vaccines to be prioritized for Michigan, we believe her suggested recommendation around indoor dining is misguided and doesn’t track with available data.


Winslow said “restaurant operators have done an extraordinary job of maintaining a safe and sanitized environment for guests and employees alike since reopening in February and it shows in the data.  While Michigan is experiencing an unfortunate surge that has fashioned nearly 1,000 new and ongoing COVID-19 outbreak investigations, an insignificant 0.3% of those investigations involved restaurant patrons.”


“We trust our operators to continue to provide a safe environment indoors or out in the coming weeks and we trust Michiganders to do their part to act responsibly and respectfully to help us all achieve that outcome.  In accordance with CDC guidance, those fully vaccinated – a number already approaching 40 percent of the population – can safely dine indoors if they wear a well-fitted mask and maintain physical distance (at least 6 feet).” 


“As we approach a herd immunity in Michigan that will transform the hospitality industry for the better, it is incumbent on us all to act with common sense and proper precaution.  But the continued scapegoating of the restaurant industry without proof or reliable data won’t make it come any sooner."

BEDHD Issues Statement on MDHHS Recommendations to Reduce Youth Transmission

The Barry Eaton District Health Department issued a statement Friday agreeing that significant personal and community actions are needed to reduce the current COVID-19 surge. 


"While significant attention has been placed on in-school transmission of the disease, we continue to see the majority of transmission occur outside of classrooms" the statement said.


"Governor Whitmer came out today with a strong recommendation that schools move to virtual instruction for the next two weeks and that youth sports pause in-person activity as well.  Given the continued rise in cases, we agree taking both of these actions together could help reduce spread in Barry and Eaton counties. "


"The rise in cases in our district is mostly stemming from activities outside of in-person learning --social activities like family gatherings, sleepovers, and sports.  Just in the past week, we have identified new outbreaks at birthday parties, sports parties, sleepovers, funerals, restaurants, churches, daycares, youth sports teams, schools, long-term care (nursing homes), banks, office workplaces, and apartment complexes."


Colette Scrimger, Health Officer at BEDHD, stated, “Given the value of in-person learning, we continue to recommend that districts consider pausing all extra-curricular activities before moving to a virtual platform or at least at the same time.  Continuing extra-curriculars but pausing in-person learning will not have the same impact on disease transmission.”


According to the BEDHD, the rate of COVID-19 cases in Eaton County is nearly as high as it was in November of 2020.  From March 1 to March 31st, rates more than quadrupled, from 163 cases per million (7-day average) to 689 cases per million.  In Barry County, the rates of COVID-19 have increased as well – although to only about half the level of the November surge.  From March 1 to March 31st, rates tripled from 147 cases per million (7-day average) to 449 cases per million in Barry County.


"Currently, Eaton County’s positivity rate is extraordinarily high, at 21.5%, and Barry County is also very high at 16.5%.  This means that there are lots of COVID-19 cases that we are likely not aware of.  We also believe that B.1.1.7 variant type (UK variant) is a growing share of cases in both counties.  This variant has been present in our district for over two months, and it is more transmissible and serious for younger adults.  It’s important to get tested for COVID-19 if you have developed symptoms of COVID-19, or if you think you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19."


Scrimger stated, “We all absolutely have to increase our vigilance in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  Besides mask wearing, testing, social distancing, and handwashing, we also recommend to avoid or reschedule family gatherings and parties.  Get takeout food from a local restaurant rather than dining in. Work from home if you can. Avoid unnecessary travel, and get vaccinated for COVID-19 as soon as it’s available to you.”

National Take Back Unwanted Prescription Drugs Event in Ionia County is April 24th

On Saturday, April 24th, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon the Belding Police
Department, Lake Odessa Police Department, Ionia County Sheriff’s Office, Portland Police
Department, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration will provide the public the opportunity to
rid their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Bring your pills for disposal to one of the locations listed below.


Please note that sites cannot accept liquids, needles, or sharps. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

Belding Police Department -120 Pleasant St, Belding, MI 48809

Ionia County Sheriff’s Office - 133 E. Adams Street, Ionia, MI 48846

Lake Odessa Police Department - 839 4th Ave, Lake Odessa, MI 48849

Portland Police Department - 773 E Grand River Ave, Portland, MI 48875


The October 2020 Take Back Day brought in 985,392 pounds (492.7 tons) of medication. This is the
largest amount ever collected in the program’s ten years!


This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home
cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.

To keep everyone safe, collection sites will follow local COVID-19 guidelines and regulations.


For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the April 24th Take Back Day
event, go to


On behalf of Ionia County Substance Abuse Initiative, Mid-State Health Network, and Ionia County
Health Department, Narcan/Naloxone kits will be available at the Belding, Lake Odessa, and Portland Police Department sites on April 24th (only), while supplies last.

House Fire

The Hastings Fire Department responded to a house fire located at 1130 south Young Street just before 5pm Monday, April 5th. The house is owned by Jim and Cindy Cary.  Fire Chief Roger Caris said there was approximately $200,000 in damage to the residence, property and contents. The department received mutual aid from the Freeport and Nashville Fire Departments.


M-43 Road Closure/Detour near Delton starts Monday

The Michigan Dept. of Transportation (MDOT) says highway M-43 is scheduled to close for culvert replacement  south of Delton between Osborne and Floria roads starting at 8 a.m. Monday, April 12 through 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 15. 


Traffic will be detoured using Milo, Norris and Delton roads. 

Single Vehicle Fatal Crash

The Barry County Sheriff’s Office investigated a single vehicle fatal crash Wednesday afternoon on Lockshore Road near Milo Road in Prairieville Township.

The investigation showed a pickup truck was traveling northbound on Lockshore Road when it ran off the roadway to the left and collided into a tree. The 76-year-old male driver was air lifted to an area hospital where he later died as a result of his injuries. The driver was the only occupant in the vehicle.


The crash is still under investigation. Alcohol, drugs, and speed do not appear to be factors.


Sheriff's Office personnel were assisted at the scene by Barry Township Police, Prarieville Fire Department, Hickory Corers Fire Department, Delton Fire Department, Life Care EMS, AirCare, and Barry County Central Dispatch.


This was the second fatal accident on Lockshore Road this week. 

State cracks down on imposter claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA), like other states across the country, remains under attack by criminals. Since Friday, April 2, Michigan has seen a dramatic increase in new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims likely filed by criminals that have been halted for identity verification. No payments have been sent to the approximately 100,000 flagged claims.


“Because of the additional fraud protections we developed last year at the onset of these coordinated attacks on state unemployment agencies, these fraudulent claims have been stopped and no payments have been sent,” said Liza Estlund Olson, acting director of the Unemployment Insurance Agency. “We continue to be vigilant in protecting the integrity of the system and the benefits for those who rightfully deserve them.”


Imposter claims are filed using previously stolen or fraudulent personal information – no personal data from claimants has been stolen from the UIA. The expanded benefits available under the federal PUA program have resulted in increased activity among criminals, particularly those posing as self-employed workers or independent contractors to illegally obtain benefits.

City of Hastings begins spring cleanup, opens compost site

The Hastings City Compost Site will be opening on Mondays beginning April 12, 2021 from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM and on Saturdays beginning April 17, 2021 from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM.


There will be a Department of Public Services staff member located at the Compost Site to sign in residents and check their loads.


Spring cleanup will begin on Monday, April 12, 2021 weather permitting. Residents  are asked to put yard waste out to the curb (not in the street) and separate twigs and branches from leaves and grass clippings.

City of Hastings & Thornapple Arts Council announce 2021 Hastings Live Lineup

Hastings Live is returning in 2021. It may look different than it has in the past– there may be ticketing for some events and venue changes for others, but it is happening!


“We are thrilled to be hosting Hastings Live again,” said Thornapple Arts Council Executive Director Megan Lavell. “We’re making safety our first priority as we move forward with our 2021 programming. We know this season is going to feel different than years past, and we appreciate everyone following the safety protocols to keep the community safe and keep the program going all summer.”


“We have been working with the Barry-Eaton Health Department, Hastings City Police, and the Hastings Department of Public Services to safely plan the upcoming Hastings Live season,” said Hastings Downtown Development Director Dan King.


In addition to the Downtown Sculpture Tour (new sculptures are being installed April 27) Hastings Live includes Hastings City Band, Community Concerts, Fridays at the Fountain, and Friday Night Features, Hastings Live at Summerfest, and the Playing at the Plaza Thursday morning children’s entertainment series.


Playing at the Plaza will be held at the Thornapple Plaza this summer to allow children and their families more room to dance, sing, and play while maintaining social distancing. Wednesday and Friday evening and Summerfest concerts will also be held at the Thornapple Plaza which is adjacent to downtown Hastings and its charming and unique shops and restaurants, many located in HOPS, Hastings’ new downtown social district (log on to for more information). It is also located next to the Riverwalk Trail which hugs the banks of the scenic Thornapple River. Come early and stay late to enjoy all that Hastings has to offer.


Friday Night Features showcase some of the region’s finest up-and-coming performers along with established artists. Friday Night Feature concerts start at 7:30 p.m. at the Thornapple Plaza


The Friday Night Features lineup includes:

June 18 Simply Queen
June 25 Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band
July 2 Denise Davis
July 9 Arena Rock
July 16 Jake Kershaw
July 23 Roosevelt Diggs
July 30 Brian Randall Band
Aug. 6 The Insiders
Aug. 13 The Army Band
Aug. 20 The Accidentals


Hastings City Band has been entertaining audiences for more than 150 years. Members are high school aged and up. All Hastings City Band are held on Wednesday at the Thornapple Plaza and start at 7:30 p.m.


Hastings City Band performance dates are:

June 2
June 9
June 16
June 23
June 30


Community Concerts feature some of the area’s finest local talent. All Community Concerts are held on Wednesday evening at the Thornapple Plaza and start at 7:30 p.m.


This year’s Community Concert line-up includes:

July 7 Out of Favor Boys
July 14 Thornapple Jazz Orchestra
July 21 Gooder ‘n Grits
July 28 Geez Louise
Aug. 4 Allie Garland and Awesome Sauce
Aug. 11 Jesse Cline
Aug. 18 Grumpy Old Men
Aug. 25 An Dro


Fridays at the Fountain start at noon on the Barry County Courthouse lawn on the southwest corner of the intersection of Church and State streets. In the event of inclement weather, Friday at the Fountain concerts will be canceled.


This year’s line-up includes:

June 18 Gary Niemensky
June 25 Chuck Whiting Jr.
July 2 Ellie Youngs
July 9 Susan Harrison
July 16 Daves at 7
July 23 Hastings Heartbeat
July 30 Kilkenny Corkers
Aug. 6 Community Music School
Aug. 13 Dede and the Dreamers


Playing at the Plaza is a children’s music, entertainment and education series will be held at the Thornapple Plaza Thursdays at 11 a.m. during the 2021 season.


The line-up includes:
June 17 Brianna Harm
June 24 Ben Jammin
July 1 Kalamazoo Exotic Animals
July 8 Drumming with Dede
July 15 Tunes and Tales with Trisha
July 22 Palamazoo
Aug. 5 Stormy the Magician
Aug. 12 Mime Rob Reider


Hastings Live at Summerfest is the last concert series of the summer. All concerts will be held at the Thornapple Plaza on the Friday and Saturday of the last full weekend in August.


The line-up for this year includes:
Friday, Aug. 27
4-5:15 p.m. Crooked Root
5:45 – 7 p.m. Zion Lion
7:30 – 9 p.m. Crush
Between sets Brianna Harm

Saturday, Aug. 28
2-3 p.m. Brother Adams
3:30 – 5 p.m. Silent Bark
5:30 – 7 p.m. Toppermost
7:30 – 9 p.m. Aeroforce
Between sets Expressions Dance Studio



Please note: Due to ongoing public health concerns, Hastings Live events will observe what safety measures are deemed necessary when the series begins. While all events will remain free, some may be ticketed to limit audience sizes. Please check the City of Hastings and Thornapple Council websites, City of Hastings and Hastings Live Facebook pages throughout the season for updates on bands, venues and current health department guidelines.


“After a year-long void of many activities that we once took for granted, bringing back Hastings Live performances will be a breath of fresh air,” said King.


“We know people want to get back to the concerts, and we appreciate the support of the community in moving forward this season,” said Lavell. “We're going to have a great series in 2021.

Hastings Live is funded in part by the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts. Local sponsors include the Baum Family Foundation, Highpoint Community Bank, Barry County Lumber, and Spectrum Health Pennock.


Man flees from Police and crashes into power pole in Caledonia

A 53-year-old Barry County man crashed a car into a Caledonia power pole after fleeing from police, then threatened self-harm as police closed in, according to a report from M-live.


State police said they tried to arrest the Nashville man in Barry County but he fled in a car.

Police terminated the pursuit for safety reasons.  A short time later, the car crashed along Kraft Avenue SE just south of 76th Street.


According to the report, police arrived to find the man threatening self-harm with a knife. They were able to take him into custody without further incident. 

Fatal Crash

The Barry County Sheriff’s Office investigated a single vehicle fatal crash around 7pm Sunday on Lockshore Road near West Hickory Road in Prairieville Township.


The investigation showed a passenger car was traveling northbound on Lockshore Road when it ran off the roadway to the left and collided into a tree. The 26-year-old female driver was transported to Ascension Borgess Hospital where she later died as a result of her injuries. The driver was the only occupant in the vehicle.


The crash is still under investigation. It is unknown at this time if alcohol or drugs were a factor.



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