Local News Archives for 2021-06

New Culvers Restaurant Hastings

Heavy earth moving equipment is now preparing the land for the construction of a new Culvers Restaurant in Hastings. Culvers will be located at the corner of west Green Street and M-37/M-43.


Thornapple River Update

The Thornapple River is now above flood stage at 7.2 feet and is expected to crest at 7.3 feet by Thursday July 1st

Flood stage in Hastings is 7 feet.  A Flood Warning remains in affect.

The heavy rains over the last few days has cause widespread flooding of Creeks, Streams and Rivers.

Many homes have also sustained water damage.


Local business honored on 90th anniversary at City Council meeting

Congratulations to Hodges Jewelry and Gifts as they celebrate 90 years in business in downtown Hastings.  At the  City Council meeting Monday night, Mayor Dave Tossava presented an official proclamation honoring the milestone. The Hodges family opened Hodges Jewelry in 1931 and ran it until 1985, when it was sold to Don Button and his wife. Daughter Deb Button joined the family business and still runs it with her father.


At Monday’s meeting the City Council approved a number of upcoming events:

-Sidewalk Sales were approved in downtown Hastings July 9th and 10th at the request of the downtown business team

-Hastings Summerfest, August 27th through 29th at the request of the Chamber of Commerce Summerfest Committee

-Overdose Awareness Day, by the Hastings Serenity Club, August 31st at Thornapple Plaza

-Barry County Brewfest, September 25th at Thornapple Plaza by the Barry Chamber of Commerce

-A new fall event, Barry County Boo Fest October 22nd and 23rd hosted by the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Alliance.


In other business:

-Council approved the sale  of city property at 326 West State St. for $77,000 to Kendall Place, the developer that plans to build an apartment complex at the site under an option agreement that was executed in October, 2019.

-A revision of City Code was approved that will allow special assessments on public improvements to be paid in up to 10 installments rather than the current 5.

Area Fireworks Shows planned

Looking for a fireworks show this Independence holiday weekend?  Here are a few to enjoy in the area:

All shows at dusk, weather permitting


Saturday, July 3rd:

Gun Lake, Yankee Springs State Park

Algonquin Lake, near Hastings

Allegan, over Kalamazoo River

Caledonia, Duncan Lk. Middle School

Dorr, at Township Park

Gull Lake, from the Country Club

Grand Rapids, at Ah-Nab-Awen Park



Sunday, July 4th:

Middleville, near TK Middleville School, part of Middleville's all-day Independence Day Celebration

Bellevue, Elementary School ball fields

Nashville, at Fox View

Battle Creek, at the Air Show & Balloon Festival

East Grand Rapids, Reeds Lake


Heavy rains from Thursday June 24th through Sunday morning the 27th has caused widespead flooding in the Hastings Barry County area. Rivers, Streams and Creeks are being impacted by  the rains as the ground in now saturated.  The Thornapple River reading in Hastings is over 5 feet and expected to crest at six feet in a day or two. Flood stage in Hastings is seven feet.


Severe storms slammed into lower Michigan Saturday along with five tornadoes according to the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids. The storms damaged homes and vehicles in the lake Odessa area from falling trees. A barn and silo on a Freeport farm on Vedder road was damaged from high winds.


The storms that hit lower Michigan since Thursday has caused wide spread flooding, as  flood warnings remain in effect. On Saturday Hastings received 2.05 inches of rain. On Friday Hastings received 1.51 inches of rain. Hastings total for June is over six inches. (6.81 inches)





Search for new Hastings City Manager narrowed to five candidates

The search process for a new city manager for Hastings advanced one more step with the release of the names of five finalists for the position. The nationwide search began after former city manager Jerry Czarnecki left the post in early May, and the City Council engaged the Michigan Municipal League to identify a list of candidates to consider.


From twenty initial applicants, the field was narrowed to ten candidates, and then during an executive session at the June 14 council meeting, to the five finalists.  


They include:


    -Richard Downey, currently the Village Manager of Kronenwetter, Wisconsin


    -Susan Montenegro,  the City Manager of Leslie, Michigan


    -Tim Wolff, Village Manager of Lake Isabella, Michigan


    - Bret Harmon, Administrative Services Director for Sanger, California


    - Sarah Moyer-Cale, who is currently Village Manager, Zoning Administrator and     DDA Director at Paw Paw, Michigan


During a day-long session on Thursday, July 8th, the City Council will interview all five with the hope of making their final selection on July 9th.


In the meantime, Gregg Guetschow of Charlotte has been serving as Interim City Manager under contract until a new permanent manager takes over.

Marijuana Lockboxes Available at the Barry-Eaton District Health Department in Charlotte

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 at 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 the Eaton Clinic or Environmental Health offices at 1033 Health Care Dr., Charlotte, MI 48813. BEDHD will not be collecting information from those who take a lock box, but ask that only one is taken per household.

Michigan State Police Shooting UPDATE

   (State Police identified the Individual in the shooting as 31 year old Virgil Taylor of Zeeland. Taylor died from a single bullet after a prolonged and violent fight with the Trooper.)       



  Monday at approximately 3 p.m., a trooper from the Michigan State Police Wayland Post responded to a 911 call about a breaking and entering in progress on Oak Road near 132nd Street in the Heath Township area of Hamilton. When the trooper arrived, he encountered the male suspect in the front yard. Witnesses observed a physical altercation between the trooper and the suspect, during which the trooper pulled his firearm and shot the suspect, hitting him once.

The trooper immediately administered first aid to the suspect until EMS arrived. The suspect later died of his injuries. The trooper suffered some facial injuries.  No one else was injured during the incident.

Preliminary investigation has revealed that the suspect and one of the homeowners knew each other from a past relationship.  

The names of the trooper and deceased suspect are being withheld pending further investigation.


Consumers Energy Announces Plan to End Coal Use by 2025

Consumers Energy today announced a sweeping proposal to stop using coal as a fuel source for electricity by 202515 years faster than currently planned. The plan would make the company one of the first in the nation to go coal-free and provide a 20-year blueprint to meet Michigan’s energy needs while protecting the environment for future generations.  


The plan, which requires regulatory approval, ensures Consumers will:

-Be among the first utilities in the nation to go coal-free by 2025;

-Use 90 percent clean energy resources by 2040;

-Build nearly 8,000 megawatts of solar energy to power Michigan’s homes and businesses by 2040; 

-Stay on the path to achieve net zero carbon emissions, and

-Save customers about $650 million through 2040.


The solar ramp-up has started and will continue throughout the 2020s. Consumers Energy currently operates solar power plants at Western Michigan University, Grand Valley State University and in Cadillac and purchases solar generation from several sites in Michigan.


To ensure continued reliable, affordable energy for Michigan and the Midwest during this historic transition away from coal generation, Consumers Energy proposes buying four existing natural gas-fired power plants in the state: Covert Generating Station in Van Buren County; Dearborn Industrial Generation in Wayne County; Kalamazoo River Generating Station in Kalamazoo County; and Livingston Generating Station in Otsego County. The proposed purchases require state and federal regulatory approvals. The Kalamazoo River and Livingston plants are smaller and used primarily to meet peak demand.


These natural gas plants — along with Consumers Energy’s current natural gas-fired power plants in Zeeland and Jackson — would supply steady, reliable electricity for homes and businesses as the company invests more heavily in renewable energy and continues to explore emerging technology to minimize impact on the environment.

Delton Kellogg Schools Hands out food


Delton Kellogg Schools will continue to hand out food during the summer again this year.

They will have breakfast and lunch food items pre-packed for each child 18 years and under and  up to 26 years of age with a disability.

Delivery will be at seven locations.

Thursday deliveries will be made to


Rout # 1

Prairieville  9:30 am

Circle Inn Restaurant-Gun Lake  10:30 am


Route # 2


Cloverdale-Public Access  9:30 am

Guesnsey Lake  10:00 am  bus will drive thru the trailer park and also stop at the end of the road.


Route # 3

Dowling- Goldsworthys service station  9:30 am

Banfield area-Cherry street bus stop  10:00 am

Delton Methodist Church Parking lot  10:30 am


Adults may pickup meals for children without the children being with them at the site.  You may also pickup for other familites.


If you cannot reach a site do to transportation issues and would like home delivery Contact Sharon Boyle at 269-623-1223.


Delivery dates

June 17, 24

July 1, 15, 22, 29-no delivery on July 8th

August 5, 12, 19, 26

Rep. Calley to host local office hours June 25

State Rep. Julie Calley will hold her June office hours and meet with citizens in Portland and Hastings this Friday.


The informal meetings will take place June 25, from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Portland City Hall, 259 Kent Street in Portland; and from 1 to 2 p.m. at the Barry County Tyden Center, 121 Church Street in Hastings.


No appointment is necessary to attend.


Storms Power Outages

Strong Thunderstorms moved across  lower Michigan during the night dropping over three quarters of an inch of rain in Hastings. The storms high winds knocked out electric service to a number of Consumers Energy Customers.


The National Weather Service in Grand Rapid posted Severe storm watches at 6-pm Sunday evening.

Teens are filling the needs of Barry County Restaurants

Restaurant owners in Barry County said teenagers have responded to calls for work in the  local restaurants. Many employers in Hastings turned to young people to fill hiring gaps.


Richies Koffee Shop  said  they are having difficulty hiring because of the money Washington has  handed out.

Spectrum Health & Beaumont Health take first step toward Merger

Beaumont Health and Spectrum Health, two of the most respected health systems in Michigan, announced today they have signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to explore creating a new health system. Leaders from Beaumont Health and Spectrum Health believe that creating a new Michigan-based health system will build a stronger future that provides more accessible, affordable and equitable health care and coverage for people across the state. Priority Health, Spectrum Health’s top-rated, Michigan-based health plan, will also be part of the new system.


The new organization will be governed by a new systemwide Board of Directors. The 16-member Board will include: seven seats appointed by Beaumont Health, seven seats appointed by Spectrum Health, the President & CEO of the new system, and a new Board member to be appointed following the creation of the new system. The Board will include at least three physicians.


Spectrum Health President and CEO Tina Freese Decker would run the new health system, which would take on the temporary name of “BHSH System.”


A combined health system between Grand Rapids-based Spectrum and Beaumont would have 22 hospitals, 305 outpatient care centers and about $13 billion in operating revenue. The combined company would have more than 7,500 employed, affiliated and independent physicians.


The new system will operate dual headquarters in Grand Rapids and Southfield.


Beaumont Health and Spectrum Health are strong brands in their respective markets. There will be no immediate changes to the legacy brands. Those names will remain in their local markets pending adoption of the overall branding plan by the System Board. The new BHSH System will work together to determine a path forward that honors both legacy brands and will engage physicians, team members, donors and the community in that process.


Local fiduciary boards with committed community board members will remain in place to provide governance and leadership to the BHSH Beaumont Health, BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan, BHSH Spectrum Health Lakeland and Priority Health divisions. Each board will retain local governance oversight over key areas unique to the communities they serve.


Allegan resident killed in two vehicle crash

Troopers from the Wayland Post are investigating a two-vehicle crash that occurred Wednesday around 5:45 p.m. at the intersection of 134th Ave and 26th St. in Monterey Township.


Preliminary investigation revealed that the driver of a silver Chevy pickup truck traveling southbound on 26th St. failed to stop at a stop sign at 134th Ave. When the truck entered the intersection, it struck a black GMC pickup truck traveling westbound on 134th Ave, with the right-away.


The driver of the Chevy pickup, identified as a 76-year-old man from the Allegan area, succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. It was reported he was not wearing his seatbelt and was ejected from his vehicle.


The driver of GMC pickup, identified as a 53-year-old woman also from Allegan area, suffered only minor injuries. She was transported to a local hospital for medical care. It was reported she was wearing a seatbelt. Alcohol and/or drugs do not appear to be factor in the crash which remains under investigation.

Whitmer encourages businesses to enroll in Back-to-Work Incentive to get more Michiganders back into workforce 

Governor Gretchen Whitmer today asked the legislature to expand Michigan’s Back-to-Work Incentive, which builds off of the state’s Work Share program, to give eligible laid off employees a $300 per week bonus for returning to the workforce through September 4, 2021.


The state is using the federal $300 per week in unemployment benefits to incentivize people to go back to work, maximize families’ income, and help employers fully staff their businesses.


The program allows job providers to bring back or keep employees working with minimally reduced hours while they receive partial unemployment benefits to make up a portion of the lost wages.  


While this boost is available to workers receiving benefits who were brought back by an employer participating in the program, Governor Gretchen Whitmer today is asking the legislature for an expansion to allow employers to hire new employees via this incentive to provide more options for workers to get back to work. The legislature previously approved this expansion in the fall, but allowed it to expire in March. 


Rep. Calley, state leaders announce plan to improve access to child care

State Rep. Julie Calley this week helped announce a comprehensive plan aimed at improving access to high-quality, affordable child care for Michigan families. 


Calley, of Portland, joined state legislators, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and several child-care industry and regional business leaders to unveil the bipartisan proposal. The legislation will continue to prioritize high-quality care for families to ensure children are safe, while also providing much-needed flexibility to better support providers who depend on adequate resources to deliver reliable, effective care.


“The lack of affordable child-care options is one of the biggest issues families struggle with, especially in rural communities,” Calley said. “In many cases, both parents want to work but it simply doesn’t make financial sense. Moms and dads sit around the kitchen table, crunch the numbers and realize it will cost more to send their kids to day care than they will bring home with an extra paycheck. Parents should be empowered with more options.”


Recent research has shown that 75 percent of children in Michigan live in areas with limited access to child care. In addition, 10 Michigan counties do not currently have licensed slots at centers that serve children younger than 30 months.


The plan:


-Expands access to child care. A safe path for child-care providers would be established to allow location in multi-use buildings, helping provide service options closer to home or work for many Michigan families. Home-based providers with proven records of success would be able to care for additional children. An innovative contract model would improve access and appropriately address costs of infants and toddlers in areas that now don’t have enough providers to meet demand – so-called ‘child-care deserts.’

-Provides better information for families. Access to health and safety records of providers would be allowed to be shared online. This measure, sponsored by Calley, would allow parents to research potential providers more thoroughly before selecting where to send their kids.


-Expands support for child-care providers. Child-care networks would be established to serve as ‘one-stop shops’ for child-care providers to access valuable business supports.


-Cracks down on bad actors. Child-care provider applicants would have to disclose ownership interests and partners, closing a loophole that currently allows bad actors to restart a business after their license has been revoked. The measure would help ensure quality care by preventing providers with a history of poor performance from gaming the system.


The bills are expected to be introduced in the House this week.

'Grand Daddy' of Car Shows cruises into Charlton Park

Charlton Park in Hastings is excited to kick off the summer season when it hosts the largest one-day car show in the Midwest, the 39th annual Father’s Day Car Show, on Sunday, June 20, 2021. Guests are invited to tour the Park’s Historic Village while admiring hundreds of vintage show cars covering more than 45 acres. Adding to the celebration, a DJ will be playing music from the 50’s and 60’s, and plenty of vendors will be on hand with festival food. A wide array of swap meet vendors and crafters will be selling products. There will be a nondenominational church service in the Carlton Center Church at the Park at 11:30 am.


The annual event is coordinated by the Southern Michigan Street Rod Association and Park staff. Dash plaques will be given to the first 200 show cars. Exhibitors are also eligible for door prizes, cash prizes and numerous awards, including peoples’ choice. Participate in the poker run and be sure to buy a commemorative t-shirt. The show is held 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.; rain or shine, and vehicle awards will be presented at 3:00 p.m.  


Show car registration is $20.00 and includes all passengers; all cars must be 1996 or older and driven in under their own power. No trailered vehicles or motor homes are allowed. Spectator general admission 13 and over is $5.00, children 12 and under are free. Vendor spaces are available onsite the day of the show from 6-10 a.m. for $20.00 each. Shuttle service from parking areas is provided by Barry County Transit and the Barry County Sheriff’s Posse will be assisting with crowd control and parking. 


During the event, South Charlton Park Road, from M-79 to River Road will be open to northbound traffic only from 5:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.  Show cars must access Charlton Park from M-79 northbound on Charlton Park Road. All spectator parking is free and located at River Road.  Spectator access is easiest using southbound Charlton Park Road to River Road. 


For additional information, please visit or follow the Park on Facebook.

Prairieville Fire Chief update

Prairieville Township Fire Chief Robert Pence died Wednesday, June 9, two days after he was honored Monday with a special ceremony.


The honor came  as the fire station was named The Chief Robert Pence Station.

Chief Pence had been with the department since 1988.

Spectrum Health Pennock Recognized for Maternity Care Excellence

The Economic Alliance for Michigan (EAM) has awarded Spectrum Health Pennock Hospital a Hospital Maternity Care Excellence Award for the fourth year in a row.


The awards are part of EAM’s Maternity Care Project, designed to decrease the state’s infant mortality rate, reduce the rate of unnecessary C-sections, and be an educational resource for new and expecting parents residing in Michigan.


“We’re so proud of our maternity care team for again earning this distinction,” said Steve Marzolf, chief nursing officer for Spectrum Health Pennock. “Led by birthing center supervisor Lynsey Nearpass, this team continues to provide an outstanding and safe experience for local mothers, babies and their families. We also believe the exceptional partnerships with our OB/GYN and Pediatric providers has created the ability for us to excel in our practices and outcomes.” 


Spectrum Health Pennock has earned the distinction in each of the program’s four years and is one of five Spectrum Health hospitals to earn the designation.


For the award, hospitals were evaluated in four areas: cesarean rates, episiotomy rates, elective early delivery rates and maternity care processes. To be awarded the Excellence Award, hospitals need to fully meet the standard in all four areas in the same calendar year.
















Pennock Family Birthing Center team members with one of Pennock OB/GYN providers, Carey Groendal, certified nurse midwife, center.

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 Saturday, June 5th. Free drive-thru Rapid testing will be done on a first come, first served basis between the hours of 10:00am and 4:00pm. Rapid results will be available in approximately 15 minutes.

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. The 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.


To pre-register, visit the Barry Eaton Health Dept. website. If you are unable to pre-register, there will be a team member on-site to assist you. 


Motorcycle Accident in Ionia County

On Monday, at 11:10 AM  deputies from the Ionia County Sheriffs Office were dispatched to a motorcycle vs deer accident. The motorcyclist was traveling north bound on Hawley Hwy and struck a deer. The driver and sole occupant sustained significant injuries to his legs and face/head. The driver of the motorcycle was not wearing a helmet. Alcohol and speed not believed to be a factor.
The subject was transported to Spectrum Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.


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