Barry-Eaton District Health Department Health Officer Colette Scrimger has rescinded the two local emergency public health orders that required face coverings and COVID-19 quarantine and isolation procedures for schools and other educational settings in Barry and Eaton counties.
The rescission of the orders is due to boilerplate language included in the Fiscal 2022 state budget that would restrict funding to local health departments with COVID-19 local emergency orders in effect as of October 1, 2021.
Both orders are rescinded as of 11:59PM on Thursday, September 30th, 2021. Children riding school busses will still have to wear a mask while on the bus.
Scrimger said “We urge our local school districts and other educational settings to continue to implement universal masking policies and follow quarantine best practices. It’s critical to reducing the spread of COVID-19 within schools and our communities. We will continue to evaluate the situation and will consider issuing orders in the future as the question of the constitutionality of Senate Bill 82 and House Bill 4400 becomes clearer and if community conditions necessitate such orders" she said.
The Founders Barry Roubaix is this Saturday, Oct 2nd from 7am to 5pm. Some 3200 registered cyclists will be in Hastings for the Killer Gravel Road Race in Barry County... Motorists should be prepared for stops or to share the road on Barry County Roads. In the City of Hastings where the bicycle races begin and end, be prepared for Street closures.
The Barry-Eaton District Health Department (BEDHD) is excited to introduce Dr. Julie Kehdi as the department’s new Medical Director. Dr. Kehdi assumed the Medical Director role fully on Saturday, September 25, 2021. She succeeds Dr. Woodall, whose last day with BEDHD was Friday, September 24.
Dr. Kehdi, a Michigan native, completed Medical School and residency through Michigan State University, and her fellowship in Infectious Diseases in Chicago at Rush University Medical Center.
A 79 year old Hastings man was killed in a two vehicle crash Wednesday afternoon around 5:10 pm (09-29-2021). The Hastings Police Department told WBCH News the two vehicle accident occured in the one-thousand block of North Broadway.
One vehicle appeared to have been traveling south on North Broadway, driven by a 32 year old Middleville man. The other vehicle appears to have been turning on to North Broadway from Benson Street driven by the 79 year old man. The accident remains under investigation.
The Wayland Police Department is investigating students who became sick at the homecoming dance on September 25. The dance took place in the high school cafeteria area of Wayland Union High School. Approximately 600 students attended the dance.
Around 9 to 10 pm, students reported feeling sick. Suspecting that a foreign substance may have been put in their drink containers, school officials and Wayland Police secured the beverage containers.
At this time the investigation is in its preliminary stages and police cannot confirm what substance, if any, was used.
Concerns over potentially toxic drinking water at a Barry County mobile home park has residents upset. The water serving the Yankee Springs Meadows community tested for arsenic levels that are above the drinking water standard, according to officials with the Michigan Department of Enviroment, Great Lakes and Energy.
The water samples, according to a WOOD news report, were taken during quarterly testing in July, but residents were just made aware of the results this week.
The MSP Wayland Post is investigating the theft of several rolls of copper wire. The theft occurred in August after a severe storm knocked out power to thousands of residents prompting a response from power companies around the state. These companies had to find temporary locations to serve as their base of operations. The thefts occurred while the trucks and equipment were parked off 142nd Avenue, along US-131 in Dorr.
Anyone recognizing the suspect is requested to contact Tpr. Eric Desch at 269.792.2213.
A statement was released Friday by Colette Scrimger, BEDHD Health Officer, regarding Thursday's Board of Health meeting, which said in part:
"During the second public comment period the last person to speak stated that he was placing me under citizen’s arrest for impersonating an officer. He then demanded that law enforcement in the room take me into custody. Law enforcement officers determined that they would not take me into custody. The BOH meeting was adjourned with no further action/comment from Board members. Law enforcement has stated that they would continue to investigate the person’s claim. I have been informed they have no basis for arresting me and in fact, they could be charged for falsely conducting a citizen’s arrest."
"While we support the right for people to peacefully protest, as well as people to provide feedback and public comment at public meetings, it is important that folks do that civilly and responsibly. The safety of everyone concerned is at the top of my mind. While many people have differing views on the necessary mitigation measures, as a public health officer I base my decisions on the best science available, patterns in the local spread of disease, and the opinions and recommendations of experts in the field of public health."
Scrimger also wrote "Under the Michigan Public Health Code, State Law, I have a statutory duty to prevent an imminent danger in the community that could cause disease, death or physical harm. The Public Health Code gives me the authority to issue orders that help mitigate spread of disease during an epidemic. This duty is assigned to me, not the Board of Health or the Board of Commissioners. "
She concluded "We will evaluate the community situation across the district using all available information to determine when masking and quarantine/isolation orders are no longer necessary for educational settings and at that time, I will rescind the orders."
Colette Scrimger, Barry Eaton Co. Health Officer, is facing more fallout over the emergency health orders she issued that mandate masks in schools and set requirements for isolation and quarantine. Late Friday afternoon, five Eaton County Commissioners released a letter calling for her to immediately rescind both of the emergency orders, and for Scrimger to resign her position. The five Eaton Co. Commissioners who signed the letter claim Scrimger gave false statements and misleading information in the executive orders. They referred to them as "Tyrannical Mandates".
Michigan State Police (MSP) Wayland Post troopers are investigating a suspected murder-suicide that occurred at 1828 Lakeridge Dr., Yankee Springs Township, and discovered on Tuesday, September 21 just before 6:00 p.m.
Authorities became aware of this incident after a co-worker traveled to the residence to check on one of the deceased individuals who had not shown up to work for a couple of days. After not getting a response knocking on the door, the co-worker peered through the windows and observed a male and female down inside of the home and immediately dialed 911.
Preliminary investigations revealed both individuals were deceased and died from apparent gunshot wounds. They were subsequently identified as 50-year-old Michael Cybulskis and 61-year-old Ellen Cybulskis, husband and wife. Evidence at the scene suggest this incident is a murder-suicide; however, detectives are waiting for forensic analysis to confirm.
Troopers were assisted by the Barry County Sheriff’s Department. This investigation remains open pending further investigation and prosecutor’s review.
Individuals from throughout Barry County with their signs "UnMask our Children", crowded into the Barry County Board of Health meeting Thursday morning expressing their dissatisfaction with the Barry Eaton Health Department's mask mandate in schools. Those who spoke are demanding that the two emergency health orders that went in effect Wednesday mandating masking in schools and prescribing requirements for isolation and quarantine be rescinded immediately. Instead, they believe masking decisions should be up to parents or made at the school board level.
The Barry Community Enrichment Center, where the 7 hour long meeting was held, was filled to capacity with a three block long line of individuals waiting outside showing their concern about the health department's actions. Many of those who spoke are calling for the resignation or firing of BEDHD Health Officer Colette Scrimger, who put the emergency orders in place.
Over 110 individuals, many very emotional, expressed their concerns for their kids, anger, frustration, and their opinions about the legality of the emergency orders and their individual rights.
Colette Scrimger then spoke about the emergency orders and defended the decision process she went through before issuing them. Other health department workers presented the most recent data on Covid-19 in Barry and Eaton counties.
While a final round of public comment was underway, a citizens arrest of Scrimger was attempted. The meeting was quickly adjourned as the board awaited input from legal counsel and law enforcement.
The Michigan legislature and Michigan Governor have agreed on a budget proposal that would also ban the state and local health officials from enforcing mask mandates in Michigan schools. That means the mandate like the one put forth by the Barry Eaton District health Department, would be null and void. Instead, the decision to require masks would be left up to school boards and school districts.
The Barry Eaton District Health Department and Barry County Commissioners got an earfull Tuesday morning from a group of citizens who are mad over the health departments school mask mandate. Students in Barry County Schools must wear a mask while in school. One individual said the health department does not have the right to do this.
At the same meeting Barry County Commissioners approved a request by the drain commissioner for another 1.5 million dollars to be included with the other millions of dollars to cover the cost of the Crooked Lake fiasco which Delton area resident will now be paying for through higher taxes.
On Sunday around 12:17 PM, deputies with the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office responded to a
motorcycle vs. car head on collision on Charlotte Highway just north of Eaton Highway. Investigation shows that a Chevrolet Impala, driven by an 18 year old man from Nashville, was attempting to
overtake another vehicle and struck a southbound motorcycle.The driver of the motorcycle, a 33 year old man from Mulliken, was transported to Sparrow Lansing with life threatening injuries. This accident is currently under investigation.
State Rep. Julie Calley today invited residents to attend local presentations in Saranac and Hastings.
“Our state’s annual budget is a significant undertaking, I look forward to updating community members on the highlights of the legislation,” said Rep. Calley, R-Portland. “As usual, I will also be available for individual meetings after the budget briefing.”
The local updates will take place Friday, Oct. 1, at the following times and locations:
-From 10 to 11 a.m. at the Scheid Park Pavilion, 391 Main Street in Saranac; and
-From 1 to 2 p.m. at the Barry County Tyden Center, 121 Church Street in Hastings.
No appointment is necessary to attend.
Rep. Calley is also planning a virtual option for community members who are unable to attend in person. Please email JulieCalley@house.mi.gov or call (517) 373-0842 to schedule a Zoom meeting or provide feedback on a state subject of importance.
MDOT has announced M-66 at Woodbury will be closed between Eaton Road and M-50 for railroad crossing work from 8 a.m. Tuesday, September 22 through 3 p.m. Friday, September 24.
Motorists will be detoured on Eaton Road to Clark Road to M-50.
Barry-Eaton District Health Department (BEDHD) Health Officer Colette Scrimger on Friday issued two emergency public health orders to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in schools and other educational settings. Effective Wednesday, Sept. 22, the emergency orders require the use of face coverings and detail quarantine and isolation procedures for schools and other educational settings in Barry and Eaton counties.
The Orders are issued pursuant to the Michigan Public Health Code (MCL 333.2451 and 333.2453, R. 325.175(4), and MCL 333.2226(d)) which authorizes public health officers to “take actions and make determinations necessary or appropriate to carry out the local health department’s functions to protect the public health and prevent disease.”
With the new emergency orders, Barry and Eaton county school districts are mandated to follow evidence-based prevention strategies for control of the COVID-19 epidemic in schools and educational institutions.
(EO 2021-1) The Education Institutions and all Persons in Educational Settings must adhere to specific isolation and quarantine measures, following identification of close contacts, household exposures, or confirmed COVID-19 cases. (https://bit.ly/3zkVYGY)
(EO 2021-2) All Persons in Educational Settings, regardless of vaccination status, are required to consistently and properly wear a facial covering while inside any enclosed building or structure of an Educational Institution or vehicle of an Educational Institution. (https://bit.ly/3Am5uLA)
Ben Geiger, Chair of the Barry County Board of Commissioners, and Chair of the Barry-Eaton District Board of Health (the governing body of BEDHD) said in a statement, “The Board of Health respects [Ms. Scrimger’s] decision and refuses to engage in divisive political theater that changes no minds and overturns no orders. For the sake of our children, our families and our public health staff, let’s move forward with respect, empathy and civility.”
Barry and Eaton counties have seen large increases in ill and quarantined school-age students. The Barry-Eaton District had a 219% increase in new cases among 0-17 year olds when comparing the two-week period of August 1-14 and the two-week period of August 29- September 11. Furthermore, children under 12 are too young to receive the vaccine and further contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in schools. As such, school districts in Barry and Eaton counties will now be mandated to follow prevention measures that are demonstrated to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
With mandatory full masking, schools will have the option to implement any of three quarantine protocols for non-household exposures less than 3 feet. 1) No test: Quarantine for a full 10 days from exposure, 2) One test: Receive a negative COVID-19 test taken on post-exposure day 6 or 7 and return on Day 8, 3) Daily test: If a school implements an approved testing protocol, student can attend school if they receive a negative daily rapid test. Students and staff with household exposures are required to quarantine for 10 days after the last day of exposure to the COVID-positive household member. People who are fully vaccinated are not required to quarantine.
Both orders will be effective at midnight (12 a.m.) on Wednesday, September 22nd and will remain in place until rescinded by the Health Officer.
Statement from Ben Geiger:
"We live in contentious times, and there’s few things more contentious today than a mask mandate for our schools. Our Health Officer Colette Scrimger and I had spirited discussions about the necessity for a mask mandate. Despite my views, I always reiterated this is a difficult decision, and was hers and hers alone to make."
"Ms. Scrimger has made her decision, and state law does not allow it to be overturned by local county commissioners. Accordingly, the Board of Health respects her decision and refuses to engage in divisive political theater that changes no minds and overturns no orders. For the sake of our children, our families and our public health staff, let’s move forward with respect, empathy and civility."
Commissioner Ben Geiger
Chair, Barry Eaton District Board of Health
Police have arrested the individual who crashed his SUV into a porch Friday morning after a high speed chase in Hastings.
The individual, who's name has not been released, took off running and was captured a short time later and taken to jail.
Hastings Mayor David Tossava welcomed and introduced Hastings’ new City Manager, Sarah Moyer-Cale, who was sworn in and seated for her first City Council meeting Monday night.
Moyer-Cale officially began work for the city on Monday. She comes to Hastings from the community of Paw Paw where she served the last 4 years as village manager, zoning administrator, and DDA director. Prior to that she held a similar position in Almont, Michigan, and was a planning assistant for the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments.
Moyer-Cale reported she is beginning her duties by meeting with department heads, city staff, and council members. She also attended the Downtown Business Team meeting Tuesday morning and is anxious to become acquainted with community leaders, business owners and residents.
Mayor Tossava read an official proclamation recognizing the week of September 17 through 23rd as Constitution Week in Hastings, noting September 17 marks the 234th anniversary of the Constitution of the United States.
In other business, city council approved a bid by DK Fencing of Battle Creek to install new fencing at the Hastings Dog Park for $37,964. The Dog Park is located just north of the wastewater treatment plant near the Thornapple River. Council also approved granting a franchise for collection, removal and disposal of garbage in the city to Waste Management.
Michigan State Police Wayland Post troopers are investigating a single car crash reported on Sunday, September 12 around 7:00 a.m. Dispatch personnel received a call from a passerby who indicated there was a vehicle rolled over on the right shoulder of southbound US 131 near 118th Ave in Martin Township.
When troopers arrived on scene, they discovered a deceased male occupant in the driver’s seat of a 2012 Buick passenger car with his seatbelt on. No other occupants were in or near the vehicle. Preliminary investigations reveal the vehicle was traveling south on US 131, veered off the right shoulder at a high rate of speed, before losing control and rolling over multiple times. Evidence at the scene indicate the crash likely occurred several hours prior to being discovered.
The deceased driver was identified as David Butela, a 44-year-old Grand Rapids man. Alcohol is believed to a factor in the crash.
This crash investigation remains open pending lab analysis and prosecutor’s review.
Troopers from the Michigan State Police Wayland Post are investigating a four-vehicle traffic crash that occurred Saturday, September 11 around 2:30 p.m. on southbound US 131 near mile marker 55 in Martin Township.
Preliminary investigations, including witness statements, reveal that the driver of a Chevy Tahoe was observed traveling at a high rate of speed south on US 131 and rear-ended a Mercury passenger car that was stopped on the roadway due to congestion caused by construction.
The driver of the Mercury passenger car, Diana Thornton, a 65-year-old woman from Bremen, Indiana, suffered life-threatening injuries. She was transported to Borgess Hospital where she was later pronounced dead. The driver of the Tahoe was identified as a 35-year-old man from Kalamazoo. His injuries were not life threatening.
Two additional vehicles stopped on the roadway were also involved in this crash due to the chain reaction from the initial impact of the Tahoe. Those vehicles were described as a 2009 Ford Flex, driven by a 27-year-old Kalamazoo man and a 2014 Chevy Impala driven by a 56-year-old woman also from Kalamazoo. Neither those drivers nor their occupants suffered life-threatening injuries.
Alcohol does not appear to be factor. It was reported that occupants from all involved vehicles were wearing seatbelts. This crash remains under investigation pending lab analysis and prosecutor’s review.
Troopers were assisted at the scene by Allegan County Sheriff Department, Martin Fire Department, Wayland EMS, Plainwell EMS, and Life EMS.
MDOT says road work will begin Friday morning 9/10/21 on M-50 from the Village of Lake Odessa west to Freeport Avenue. There will be daily lane closures (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) Friday, Monday and Tuesday on eastbound and westbound M-50.
As a result of increasing numbers of patients admitted with COVID-19 and the increase in community positivity rate, Spectrum Health is revising its visitor policies to reduce the number of people in its Grand Rapids and regional hospitals and outpatient care sites, including Spectrum Pennock in Hastings.
Effective Wednesday, Sept. 8, patients are allowed only one adult visitor when they go to Spectrum Health emergency departments, urgent care, surgery, radiology and lab locations. Adult inpatient areas allow two adult visitors, who must be the same person throughout the patient’s stay. Patients in labor and delivery are allowed two visitors. COVID-19-patients are allowed only one adult visitor, who must be the same person throughout the patient’s stay and must follow personal protective equipment guidelines.
Spectrum Heath pediatric patients may have two adult visitors in the emergency department, urgent care, surgery, radiology and lab. Pediatric inpatient areas allow two adult visitors, who must be the same person throughout the patient’s stay. Pediatric COVID-19-patients are allowed two adult visitors, who must be the same people throughout the patient’s stay and must follow personal protective equipment guidelines.
Exceptions can be made at the discretion of the care teams involved based on end-of-life care or special needs. Adults are individuals ages 18 and older. Children and minors will be allowed as visitors only in limited circumstances.
Patients must identify visitors to their care teams. For pediatric patients, adult visitors’ names must be on file. Visitors will be screened. For more information about visitor guidelines can be found here. Spectrum Health's COVID-19 resource center can be found here.
The restrictions apply to the following Spectrum Health hospitals and nearby physician offices and ambulatory care sites:
Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital
Spectrum Health Blodgett Hospital
Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital
Spectrum Health Fred and Lena Meijer Heart Center
Spectrum Health Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion
Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital
Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial
Spectrum Health Kelsey Hospital
Spectrum Health Pennock
Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital
Spectrum Health United Hospital
Spectrum Health Zeeland Community Hospital
Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital
Consumers Energy have restored power to most of the over 80-thousand of its customers affected by this week's storms. There are 24 customers in Barry County still out of electric service. All should be be on line today Thursday.
Strong Thunderstorms put a number of Consumer Energy customers in the dark tuesday evening as they moved across lower Michigan bringing down power lines. During the storm a 46,000 volt Consumers energy electric line came down across Shriner street between Hanover and Jefferson. Shriner street is blocked off at this time.
As of this hour the following customers are still out of electric service.
Kalamazoo County 10,422
Calhoun County 3,748
Kent County 1,319
Barry County 545
Eaton County 225
Ionia County 148
Troopers from the Michigan State Police Wayland Post are investigating an indecent exposure incident. On August 29, it was reported that an unknown male had exposed himself in front of two females in the Yankee Springs Recreation Area near the north channel building in Yankee Springs Township. An additional report was made on August 17th at the same location with a similar description of the suspect.
The suspect was described as a white male approximately 30-40 years old with dark hair, and glasses. He was wearing a tank top style shirt and no bottoms. A witness depicted his overall appearance as “dirty”. A Michigan State Police Sketch artist was able to create a sketch of the suspect and is asking the public for assistance in identifying the suspect.
Please contact the Michigan State Police Wayland Post at 269-792-2213 or Crime Stoppers of Michigan at 1-800-773-2587 any tips or information.
Governor Whitmer has appointed Donald Haney to serve on the Certificate of Need Commission (CON). It is a state regulatory program intended to balance the cost, quality, and access of Michigan's health care system. This is to ensure that needed services and facilities afford quality health care for the residents of the state.
The Commission, an 11-member independent body appointed by the Governor has the responsibility to develop, approve, disapprove, or revise Review Standards.
The Commission also has the authority to make recommendations to revise the list of covered clinical services subject to CON review and for determining the need and ongoing quality assurance standards for the following:
- Air Ambulance Services (Helicopters)
- Cardiac Catheterization Services
- Computed Tomography (CT) Scanner Services
- Hospital Beds
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Services
- Megavoltage Radiation Therapy (MRT) Services
- Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU)
- Nursing Home/Hospital Long-Term Care Unit Beds
- Open Heart Surgery Services
- Positron Emission Tomography(PET)Scanner Services
- Psychiatric Beds and Services
- Surgical Services
- Transplantation Services: Bone Marrow, including Peripheral Stem Cell; Heart/Lung & Liver
- Urinary Lithotripter Services
Donald Haney, Administrator for Thornapple Manor in Hastings is appointed to represent nursing homes for a term expiring April 9, 2024. “My passion is building a team that recognizes financial accountability while ensuring that the organizations they govern provide the absolute best care in an environment which offers safe, high quality and compassionate healthcare to those we serve.”
Sarah Moyer-Cale will take on her new duties as Hastings City Manager on September 13th coming to Hastings from the village of Paw Paw where she served for four years as Village Manager, Zoning Administrator and DDA Director, and was the planning assistant for Southeast Michigan council of Government.
Stop by and introduce yourself and join us in welcoming Sarah to the city of Hastings.
Yankee Springs Trustee, Dave VanHouten, Chair of the Yankee Springs Veterans Memorial Committee announced the dedication of the Memorial for Monday, September 6, 2021, Labor Day. The Memorial has been a project the Township has been working on for a number of years and VanHouten, on behalf of the Township Board and the Veterans Committee, said “we are delighted to bring this project to completion after a lot of work by a number of people.”
Township Supervisor Rob Heethuis said, “a priority for the incoming Township Board has been to complete a number of projects that had been started, but sort of stalled out. I asked Trustee Dave VanHouten to convene a new Veterans Memorial Committee to pick up on the initial effort and see the project through to completion in a final form that would honor our veterans.”
Citizen contributions were the initial source of funding for the Memorial, but the project needed an infusion of resources to allow a proper build out. The Yankee Springs Township Board asked the Gun Lake Tribe if they would approve the use of some of the contributions to the Township for the Memorial. The Gun Lake Tribe has supported local governments with casino revenue regularly, and was very supportive of using some of the shared revenue with Yankee Springs Township for the Memorial. Tribal spokesman, David “DK” Sprague, said “the Gun Lake Tribe is proud to partner with Yankee Springs Township to complete this project and honor our veterans.”
VanHouten said, “it is important to remember and honor our veterans. At this time when we have challenging policy issues with regard to our military involvement in other countries, let us make a clear and complete distinction between policy issues, and not confuse those with the “heroism” of our military patriots. They served our country and on our behalf regardless of political issues and are to be honored and recognized for their service and heroism. Their commitment for putting themselves in harm’s way and absolute commitment to their fellow service members is beyond reproach. I invite everyone to join us on Labor Day as we dedicate this symbol of respect for our veterans.”
Representatives of Yankee Springs Township, the Gun Lake Tribe, and the community will gather at the Memorial at 10:00 a.m. on September 6th for the dedication ceremony. Brief comments will be offered by those involved in the construction of the Memorial and light refreshments will be served. The Memorial is located next to Yankee Springs Fire Station, 1425 S. Payne Lake Road, at the corner of M-179 and S. Payne Lake Rd. All are welcome!