Local News Archives for 2022-01

Accidental Death Involving Bulldozer, 7-year-old Victim

The Michigan State Police Wayland Post is investigating an accidental death that occurred on Thursday, January 27 at approximately 5:30pm. A 7-year-old boy and his father were working with heavy machinery in a field near their home in the 7100 block of Lawrence Rd, Maple Grove Township, Barry County.

The 7-year-old boy was riding on a trailer being pulled by a bulldozer. The boy fell from the trailer and was run over by the bulldozer. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The names of individuals involved are being withheld at this time. 

Troopers were assisted at the scene by Nashville Police Department, Nashville Fire Department, and Nashville EMS.

The incident remains open pending further investigation. It is not believed drugs or alcohol were a factor.

Former SAVE A LOT Store Building taken Down

After standing vacant for a few years, the Save A Lot building located off M-37/M-43 across from the FlexFab company west of Hastings is being demolished. The once popular grocery store shut down some time ago because of strong competition from area stores.


Robin Hawthorne, Rutland Charter Township Clerk, posted on social media that the building had been sold and that a site plan calls for two retail spaces with drive-thru’s to be built at the location.  Hawthorne indicated that one of the new tenants is expected to be a Starbucks, while the other tenants are not known at this time.







Board of Commissioners

The Barry County Board of Commissioners met Tuesday morning and approved the allocation of funds under the American Rescue Plan Act for 7 projects, subject to appropriate contractual approval with the applicants:


 $1,332,000.00 for a Water Tower in Barry Township

 $839,000.00 for Water Supply Upgrades in the Village of Freeport

 $2,400,000.00 for construction of an 800 Mhz Tower for dispatch

 $1,000,000 for Enhancements of the Paul B. Henry Thornapple Trail

 $100,000.00 for the Activate Barry County Community Food Center Project in Hastings

 $240,000.00 to the Barry County Road Commission for Lost Revenue Replacement

 $14,000.00 for Sewer and Broadband Studies in the Algonquin Lake Area


In other action:


-The Board approved contracts for Indigent Defense Counsel with several local attorneys for 2022.

-The Board approved the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Grant Contract between the Michigan State Police and Barry County Trial Court.

-Doug Klein was re-appointed to the Parks and Recreation Board,  and Don Bowers, Betsy Colgan, Carrie McCormick, and Sally Shuster-Shoff  re-appointed to the Commission On Aging Board.

Accessory Dwelling Units approved in the City of Hastings

The Hastings City Council met Monday night and approved the compensation for elected officials for 2022 as recommended by Mayor Tossava.


They approved the YMCA request to use the fields at Bob King and Fish Hatchery Parks for athletic programs,  approved the 13th annual Barry Roubaix Bike Race and street party on March 26th,  and committed to working with the Thornapple Arts Council for the Hastings Live performance season at Thornapple Plaza and the Spray Plaza.


Council approved City Ordinance #604 pertaining to Accessory Dwelling Units, or ADU’s, in residential neighborhoods as recommended by the Planning Commission. ADU’s have not been allowed for many years in Hastings, but could introduce additional options to help solve the city’s current housing shortage. An ADU, is a secondary housing unit that occupies the same structure or lot as a principal single-family dwelling, such as in a basement or attic, attached to the outside of the main dwelling, or in a detached garage, carriage house, or secondary building. ADU’s will be subject to all the building codes and requirements, and can never be sold separately from the principal dwelling. Also, the property owner will have to occupy either the main dwelling or ADU.

McCarthy Named as Next TK Superintendent

Craig McCarthy was officially named the new superintendent of Thornapple Kellogg Schools after a special board meeting this week. He has been serving as the interim superintendent since September 2021 when Dan Remenap took a medical leave of absence and later resigned.


The TK Board of Education interviewed McCarthy for the superintendent position Monday. Matt Powers, President of the Board of Education described McCarthy as a “calculated and polished leader.”


The board unanimously approved McCarthy as the next superintendent for the district.


“Since September, he (McCarthy) has taken the leadership role at Thornapple Kellogg Schools and added a sense of calm and control immediately.  He is a great listener and makes level headed decisions,” said Powers.  “I truly appreciate how he assesses all of the information, communicates with stakeholders and takes swift action moving forward.  I am looking forward to the progress Thornapple Kellogg Schools will make under the leadership of Craig McCarthy.


McCarthy was hired by TK in 2018 as the assistant superintendent working with Rob Blitchok who was named superintendent that year. Including his years at TK, McCarthy has 29 years of experience in education.

ARPA Advisory Committee recommendations move forward at Barry COW meeting

At the Barry County Committee of the Whole meeting Tuesday,  most of the time was spent discussing the American Rescue Plan Act and recommendations from the county’s ARPA Committee, which has been working diligently for several months on the process.


The ARPA Committee received 19 completed applications and one incomplete application, and recommended 7 of those for the first round of federal funding, including:


-Allocating up to $1,332,000.00 in ARPA Funds for a Water Tower in Barry Township


-Allocating up to $839,000.00 in ARPA Funds for Water Tower and Supply Upgrades in the Village of Freeport


-Allocation of up to $2,400,000.00 in ARPA Funds for construction of an 800 Mhz Tower for dispatch


-Allocating up to $650,000.00 in ARPA Funds for Enhancements of the Paul B. Henry Thornapple Trail


-Allocation of up to $100,000.00 in ARPA Funds for the Activate Barry County Community Food Center Project in the City of Hastings


-Allocation of up to $240,000.00 in ARPA Funds to the Barry County Road Commission for Lost Revenue Replacement


-Allocating up to $14,000.00 in ARPA Funds for Sewer and Broadband Studies in the Algonquin Lake Area


The Committee of the Whole discussed each item separately and passed motions to recommend those allocations to the Barry County Board of Commissioners, subject to appropriate contractual approvals with the applicants.

Rep. Calley announces January local office hours

State Rep. Julie Calley has scheduled her first office hours of 2022 to take place in Lake Odessa and Hastings on Monday, Jan. 31.


“Hosting office hours provides me with invaluable insight on local concerns and keeps me informed on impactful issues,” said Calley, R-Portland. “I look forward to discussing the strides we made in 2021 as well as goals for the current year.” 


The informal meetings will take place Monday, Jan. 31:


From 10 to 11 a.m. at the Page Memorial Building, 839 4th Ave. in Lake Odessa; and??

From 1 to 2 p.m. at the Barry County Tyden Center, 121 S. Church St. in Hastings.? 


A legislative update will be provided, with an opportunity for individual meetings following. Out of consideration for other attendees, one-on-one meetings will be kept to 10 minutes each.


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

Michiganders urged to Claim Free at-home COVID-19 Tests

Michiganders are urged to take advantage of the federal government’s free COVID-19 testing program. At-home, rapid COVID-19 tests are available for free at, with every household eligible for four free tests that will be shipped directly to Michiganders’ homes.  


COVID-19 testing in Michigan is at an all-time high and these at home tests will provide the necessary tools directly to Michigan residents to limit barriers to testing access and empowering residents to take immediate action after receiving a test result. 


When to use an at home test: 

  • if experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 
  • if exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19 (ideally 5 days after exposure or after experiencing symptoms) 
  • prior to or after traveling or attending a large gathering 

Delton Kellogg Schools is going Virtual

Delton Kellogg Schools announced that due to the increasing numbers of students and staff who have become Covid close contacts,  the School District is going Virtual on Wednesday Jan 19th through Mon. Jan. 24th .  The plan is to return to face to face instruction on Tuesday Jan. 25th  Virtual classes will be conducted on their normal schedule as in the past.

Delton Kellogg staffers honor School Board members

January is School Board Recognition month, and the staff at Delton Kellogg Schools is expressing their appreciation for school board members with several positive accolades, such as:


“Thank you for working with us and on behalf of our staff and students.”


“We appreciate all you do.”


“Thank you for putting the learning of our students in the forefront of everything you do and listening to the teachers as professionals.”


“Thanks you for your leadership and for your concern for the safety of our staff and students during this time.”  “We appreciate your dedication to our kids and the community.”


Another staff member wrote  “Thank you for bearing the brunt of oh so many tough comments over the last couple years. We appreciate how you care for us by shielding us from those releasing their frustrations.”

Hastings City Council

Mayor David Tossava called the first Hastings City Council meeting of 2022 to order Monday evening, and 2nd ward councilman John Resseguie was again elected Mayor Pro Tem.


The Council approved the list of banks and signatories for city accounts, approved rules of order, voted down the proposed compensation for elected officials, and set the 2022 meeting schedules. Council also approved the annual appointments to committees, boards, commissions and departments as recommended by the Mayor and City Manager Sarah Moyer-Cale.


After 30 years of service, Hastings City Attorney Stephanie Fekkes announced she is stepping down from that position. The council approved the appointment of Jessica Wood and the firm Dickinson Wright, PLCC of Grand Rapids as City Attorney to replace Fekkes. The mayor and council expressed their deep gratitude to Stephanie and a thank-you reception will be announced at a later date.


The council discussed entering into a marketing agreement with NLC Service Line Warranties of America.  NLC would like to partner with the city to market and sell service line plans to individual property owners to cover their expense should they have trouble with a water or sewer service line between their home and the city utilities. The council sent the matter back to NLC and the city manager for revisions and will consider it at a later meeting. 


Hastings Mutual Insurance Co. announces CEO Retirement and Succession Plan

Joseph Babiak, President and CEO of Hastings Mutual Insurance has announced his plans for retirement, effective March 31, 2022.  Renee Beauford, Senior Vice President of Operations, has been selected to succeed Mr. Babiak as President and CEO.


Mr. Babiak joined Hastings Mutual in 2001 as the Vice President of Financial Services and served as the Senior Vice President of Insurance Operations before being selected President and CEO in 2012.


Under Mr. Babiak’s leadership, the company has undertaken a complete modernization of operations, including all core systems, company website, agent portal, enhanced cybersecurity, robotic process automation, data warehouse, and state of the art data reporting tools. In addition, a complete modernization of the home office facility was completed in 2021.



Ms. Beauford was selected to take on the role of President and CEO at Hastings Mutual as part of an organized, long-term succession plan. She has nearly 30 years of experience and knowledge of the insurance industry, and her broad management and executive leadership experience make her an ideal candidate to fill this position.


Ms. Beauford joined Hastings Mutual as Director of Field Claim Operations in 2007 and was promoted to Vice President – Chief Claim Officer in 2012. Over the past 10 years, she has gained executive leadership experience in Actuarial Services, Product Development, Marketing, Claim, and Underwriting. Ms. Beauford most recently held the position of Senior Vice President of Operations in preparation for this planned succession.



Residents Should Pick Up a Free Radon Test Kit during Radon Action Month

Radon can't be seen, smelled, or tasted, but high levels of radon gas may be in residents’ homes, increasing their risk of lung cancer. Fortunately, testing is easy and high radon levels can be lowered. With COVID-19, individuals and families are spending more time at home, making it even more important to check for high radon levels.


According to a Michigan survey, high levels of radon are expected in one out of eight Michigan homes. The only way to know if a home has high radon levels is to test it.


Easy, do-it-yourself radon test kits are available for free to residents of Barry, Eaton, and Ionia counties during January, which is Radon Action Month. There is a limit of one kit per address. Kits are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and supplies are limited.


Residents can pick up a kit at one of the below locations. After using it at home, they should send it to the lab for testing! Residents should wear a face mask when picking up a radon test.

Hastings: Health Department, 330 W. Woodlawn Ave. (269) 945-9516

Charlotte: Health Department, 1033 Healthcare Dr. (517) 541-2615

Lansing: Delta Township Hall, Assessing Department, 7710 W. Saginaw Hwy. (517) 323-8520

Delton: Delton District Library, 330 N. Grove St. (269) 623-8040


The Ionia County Health Department is also giving away FREE short-term radon test-kits throughout the month of January in return for the donation of a non-perishable food item.

Ionia: Health Department, 175 E. Adams Street  (616)- 527-5341


USMC Cpl. Josh Hoffman remembered

A local United States Marine and American hero, Cpl. Joshua Hoffman, died Monday, December 27, 2021 at age 39 due to complications from injuries he received in 2007 while fighting in Iraq.  Josh was critically wounded by a sniper’s bullet in Fallujah, Iraq. He returned home to West Michigan as a quadriplegic.


Tributes from fellow veterans and expressions of love and support from all who knew him have been pouring in following his death, remembering Josh for his positive attitude, determination and drive, and being an inspiration to others.


In 2009, hundreds of people gathered along with Caledonia American Legion Post #305 to welcome Joshua to a new home built in Middleville by Home for Our Troops, a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to building houses for wounded and disabled veterans.


Visitation and funeral services will be held on January 12th and 13th at Lauer Family Funeral Home in Hastings. Josh will be laid to rest at Hastings Riverside Cemetery.

Barry County Commissioners

The Barry County Board of Commissioners held its annual organizational meeting on Monday. Ben Geiger was elected as Chairperson, and Vivian Conner as Vice Chairperson.  Commissioners adopted schedules for Board of Commissioner and Committee of the Whole meetings, as well Board Rules for 2022.  They will further discuss the possibility of holding some of their 2022 meetings at night.


On Tuesday, Jan. 4, the first Committee of the Whole meeting was held.  The Committee voted to recommend approval of amendments to the Sewer agreement between the County, Hastings Township, and City of Hastings to provide sanitary sewer for Harvest Point Assisted Living facility, under construction at the campus of Thornapple Manor and the Cottages. It would also cover the future addition of an Independent Living facility.


The Committee voted to accept two grants from Two-Seven-Oh, Inc. for animal control.  A $10,000 grant to spay or neuter barn and feral cats, rabies shots, and flea treatments. A $15,000 grant will be used for kennel and office equipment at the Animal Shelter.


The Committee will recommend approval of 2022 Monumentation Surveyor Agreements with several land surveying firms. Also approved were appointments of the Barry County Medical Examiner and Deputy Medical Examiners from the WMU Homer Stryker School of Medicine.


The next Board of Commissioners meeting will be held at 9am on January 11th.

2 New 4-way stops installed at intersections

The Barry County Road Commission Monday installed a new 4-way stop at the intersection of Center & Charlton Park Roads.  After numerous engineering studies and continued monitoring of traffic volumes and accidents, the 4-way stop was installed.


On Tuesday, another new 4-way stop was installed at the intersection of Eckert and Wood School Roads in Irving Township.


The Barry County Road Commission reminds motorists to use extreme caution when driving in the areas of those intersections until everyone gets used to the changes.

Message Boards and additional signage are in place to help notify motorists.


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