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Local News Archives for 2022-05

2022 Police Officer of the Year is Barry County Sheriff's Sergeant Scott Ware

Every year, the Police Officer Association of Michigan lauds and honors officers who show extraordinary zeal in their sworn duty to protect the community they serve. For bravely putting the lives of others before his own by stopping an armed shooter before he could do any real harm, Barry County Sheriff Sergeant Scott Ware is one of the Police Officer of the Year Award recipients. 

On August 4, 2021, the suspect broke into a house in a residential neighborhood in Hastings and stole numerous firearms, then escaped in his vehicle. The suspect was recently released from prison after resentencing for first-degree murder in Wayne County.

After a Be-On-the-Lookout (BOL) went out for the suspect and his vehicle, a Hastings police officer found the suspect. The officer stopped and questioned him. However, instead of cooperating, the suspect fled the scene in his car, prompting a long and dangerous car chase that spanned three townships. 

When the pursuit entered the Village of Woodland, Sergeant Scott Ware intercepted the chase and took command of the pursuit. As the suspect’s car entered Woodland, it swerved into oncoming traffic, almost hitting a vehicle before the suspect maneuvered it back to its lane.

The suspect finally stopped at a busy Mobil Gas Station. The suspect quickly got out of his car, with his shotgun cocked and ready to fire, and he walked straight towards Sergeant Ware, whose vehicle was approaching the gas station. The situation happened so fast that the Sergeant didn’t have enough time to get out of his vehicle.

Fortunately, Sergeant Ware anticipated this move by the suspect, and he had his patrol rifle ready. As soon as he saw the suspect pointing the gun in his direction, ready to fire, he took his police-issued firearm and fired several shots at the suspect through his windshield. Although the shot didn’t hit the suspect, it scared him enough to turn back to the gas station.

The commotion of several loud gunshots panicked the patrons who were now trying to flee to safety. Sergeant Ware, together with the other responding officers, helped the people get out of harm’s way. Unfortunately, the suspect took two gas station employees as his hostage, prompting a long and precarious hostage situation. Successfully, after hours of negotiations, the hostages were released, and the suspect surrendered himself to the police on the scene.

The teamwork of all officers on the scene, and the courageous, tactical decisions of Sergeant Ware, allowed the whole incident to end without any civilian or police officer casualties. Congratulations to Sergeant Scott Ware on this prestigious award!

MDOT lifts traffic restrictions to ease Memorial Day travel

This Memorial Day weekend, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is removing lane restrictions on more than 63 percent of its road and bridge projects statewide to ease traffic delays for holiday travelers. AAA Michigan estimates more than 1.1 million Michigan residents are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, a 7.9 percent increase from last year.

Beginning at 3 p.m. Friday, May 27, and continuing until 6 a.m. Tuesday, May 31, 104 out of 165 projects statewide will have lane restrictions removed. While motorists will see suspended operations in most MDOT work zones for the weekend, drivers are advised that equipment and certain traffic configurations may remain in place, like temporary shifts or shoulder closures.

 

State Rep. Calley announces June office hours

State Rep. Julie Calley invites residents to attend her June office hours in Hastings and Pewamo.

 

“Local office hours give me the opportunity to meet with constituents face-to-face and hear what is important to them,” said Calley, of Portland.

 

The informal meetings will take place at the following times and locations:

 

-Friday, June 3, from 11 a.m. to noon at the Barry County Tyden Center, 121 S. Church St. in Hastings

 

-Monday, June 6, from 11 a.m. to noon at Blossom Time Park, 278 W. Lincoln St. in Pewamo.

 

No appointment is necessary to attend.

 

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.

Memorial Day 2022 Observances

Several area communities will hold ceremonies, parades and events to observe Memorial Day and honor our nation's fallen heroes:

 

Hastings

The Lawrence J. Bauer American Legion Post 45 will hold its annual Memorial Day Parade at 9:30am.  The Parade will form at the corner of Boltwood and State Streets at 8:30am and travel west on State Street to North Broadway, North on Broadway to the Veteran's Memorial where two wreaths will be placed, one honoring all veterans and one a POW-MIA wreath.  A rifle salute will be followed by Taps, there will be a short presentation honoring all veterans.

 

Next stop will be on the Broadway Bridge to place a wreath in the Thornapple River in honor of military personnel who have served on and under the seas.  The Honor Guard will fire a rifle salute, followed by Taps.

 

Riverside Cemetery will be the final stop at the GAR Monument at the end of the Avenue of Flags.  Memorial day ceremonies will be held.  The grave of the most recently buried Veteran at Riverside Cemetery will receive the final wreath and honors of the event.

 

No political signs, banners, posters, sirens or horns will be allowed in the parade.

 

Woodland

A Memorial Day Service will be held at Woodland Cemetery on Velte Rd. at 10am.  Guest speaker will be Dick Posthumus, former Michigan Lt. Governor.

 

Lake Odessa

The Jackson Mutschler VFW Post 4461 will participate in the Clarksville Memorial Day Parade at 8:30am Monday, then at the Woodland cemetery service.  At around 11:00am, a Memorial Day Service will be held at Lakeside Cemetery in Lake Odessa.

 

Nashville

The Nashville VFW Post 8260 Memorial Day Parade will  Monda at 11am beginning at the Fishing Dock on Philadelphia Street where the Maple Valley Choir will sing the Navy Hymn while flowers are placed in the river in memory of sailors who made the ultimate sacrifice. A 21 Gun Salute will complete the ceremony. 

 

The VFW Color Guard and Maple Valley Junior/Senior High Bands will travel south on Main Street to the Fire Barn to commemorate those firemen who have served or sacrificed their lives for the community.  The parade will continue to the VFW Post where the Band will board busses to the cemetery.  At Lakeview Cemetery, VFW Post members will raise the flag while the band performs the Star Spangled Banner. Classic cars, scouts and bicycles with a patriotic theme are encouraged to join the parade.

 

Hickory Corners

The full schedule of Memorial Day activities returns to Hickory Corners this year with a pancake breakfast served from 7:00 to 9:30am at the fire station.  

 

The Memorial Day Parade begins at 10am. Some of the highlights of the parade include the Shriner’s Mini-T’s, the Gull Lake High School and Delton High School bands.  Parade coordinator Chris Reed said weather permitting, they also hope to have a flyover. After the parade, Memorial Services will be held at East Hickory Cemetery. Guest speaker will be retired Col. Frank J. Walker.

 

The Sons of the American Legion will serve Hot Dog and Pulled Pork baskets from 11am to 2pm at the Simmonds Williams American Legion Post 484 in Hickory Corners, open to the public.

 

Orangeville

Orangeville hosts a  Memorial Ceremony annually on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend at 2:00p.m.  at the Veteran’s Memorial in Orangeville.

 

Prairieville

Prairieville will hold a Memorial Day Parade starting at 1pm and Service at the veterans Monument in the cemetery. All are welcome to participate.

 

Middleville

The Middleville Lion's Club Memorial Day Parade is back on  Monday, with a pancake breakfast from 8 to 10am at the United Methodist Church. The Parade steps off at 10:30am and is followed by a ceremony of remembrance at the cemetery, organized by American Legion Post #140. 

 

Wayland

In Wayland, a bus will transport veterans between six sites for Cemetary Honors starting at 8am.

The Annual Memorial Day Parade and Cookout hosted by Wayland VFW Post #7581 will be held Monday starting at 11:00am, beginning at the Michigan State Police Post, marching south, and concluding at the Wayland VFW Post.   Following the parade the public is invited to the VFW to enjoy the annual BBQ cookout

 

Caledonia

Caledonia's events begin with services at Alaska, Blain, Dutton, and Holy Corners cemeteries, concluding with a ceremony at Caledonia Lakeside Cemetery. Caledonia's American Legion Post 305 plans the events.

 

Sunfield

The Sunfield Memorial will begin at 3:00pm Sunday May 29th at Sunfield United Brethren Church on M-43. Hosted by the Sunfield Daughters of the Union Veterans of the Civil War.

 

Gun Lake Memorial Day Cruise

The Gun Lake Memorial Day Cruise, honoring all who served, is Monday May 30th.  Staging begins at Gun Lake Community Church at 12:30pm.  The Cruise begins at 2:00pm.  Last year 200 vehicles participated.

 

The Memorial Cruise will travel around Gun Lake with approximate times of 2:06pm at Tom's Market on Gun Lake, 2:13pm at Yankee Spring Bible Church, 2:20pm Lindsey/Mullin Rd, 2:25pm Orangeville Veteran's Memorial, 2:31pm Orangeville, 2:42pm Premier Boating, 2:42pm Gun Lake Park, 2:48pm Curley Cone, 2:50pm Yankee Springs Veteran's Memorial, 3:00pm Gun Lake Rd./Chief Noonday Rd., 3:06pm Yankee Bills, 3:14pm Fehsenfeld KCC, 3:20pm Airport Rd/State Rd. west of Hastings, 3:26 Riverside Cemetery,  3:30pm Tyden Park Veteran's Memorial in Hastings.

 

Start Location: Gun Lake Community Church, 12200 W. M-179 Hwy. Wayland, MI 49348

 

Hastings High School Graduation moved indoors

Due to inclement weather that is forecasted for Thursday and Friday of this week, Hastings High School is moving their Graduation Ceremony into the Main Gymnasium on Thursday evening, May 26, 2022. The ceremony will still begin at 7:00 pm. Graduates need to report to the Auxiliary Gym no later than 6:15 pm wearing their caps, gowns, tassels and medals. 

 

Doors are open to the public at 6:00 pm. There is no limit to the number of guests that may attend. All are welcome! The ceremony will also be streamed live on Facebook. 

 

Parking will be available in the lots in front of the building, as well as behind the school.  There are handicap accessible parking spaces near the entrance doors.

 

BOC presented with concept for Housing Development in City of Hastings

Barry County Commissioners heard an initial presentation at their regular Board meeting Tuesday morning from General Capital Group, a developer that has been working with the City of Hastings over the past three years in an effort to bring more affordable housing to the city.

 

General Capital had planned to build the Royal Coach development on the north side of the Thornapple River near downtown Hastings, however that project was killed when the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) pulled back from issuing the housing tax credits needed to proceed with the Royal Coach project.  Instead,  MSHDA  has offered to transfer those tax credits to be used at the  location on the corner of  Park and State Streets, just west of the county’s Friend of the Court building.

 

General Capital is asking the Commission to consider selling to them the now vacant Friend of the Court property to be combined with the city parcel and incorporated into the housing development, which will be called “Tyden Lofts”.  The concept is to renovate and convert the Friend of the Court building into amenity space and fitness center for tenants, a leasing office, and community space that could be open to the public.   As part of the purchase agreement General Capital would designate offices on the second floor and approximately 25 parking spaces for continued county government use.

 

The initial concept plan for Tyden Lofts includes approximately 60 affordable income apartment units with a combination of underground and surface parking. The three story development would have a corridor connecting to the Friend of the Court building if the county agrees to sell it.

 

Commissioners expressed surprise at the sudden request to sell the county property but are open-minded to investigating the possibility, knowing what an urgent need there is for affordable housing in Barry County. However, no formal plan or agreement is yet on the table and no timetable is set for making a decision.

 

After the meeting Commission Chair Ben Geiger said about the Friend of the Court redevelopment proposal from General Capital,  “Commissioners need answers. The community needs decisions. Let’s roll up our sleeves and deliver both.”

 

Hastings Area Schools May Board of Education Summary

Hastings Area School System’s May Board of Education meeting was held at Hastings Middle School on Monday, May 23, 2022. The evening started with the District’s annual retirement ceremony. This year, nine staff members retired from Hastings Area School System with a combined total of 255 years of dedicated service. Judy Way (31.5 years), Kristen Laubaugh (23.25 years), Sheree Newell (26 years), Marshall Evans (37 years), Shari Barker (30 years), Joni Sauers (24.75 years), Jillana Withey (31 years), Angelia Sixberry (25 years) and Catherine Longstreet (26.5 years) have made outstanding contributions to HASS, and they will certainly be
missed.


The Board is required to take action on the Barry Intermediate School District general fund budget for the 2022-2023 school year. Rich Franklin, Superintendent of the BISD presented and answered questions for the HASS Board. The Hastings Board of Education approved contracts with the Hastings Education and the Bus Driver’s Associations through June 30, 2025. Furthermore, the contract with Grand Rapids Building Services was extended through next school year. 

 

The Hastings Board also approved second readings on updated policies from NEOLA, and accepted donations from the Hastings Educational Enrichment Foundation in the amount of $5,506 to help defray transportation costs for field trips, scholastic resources in the classroom, and literacy materials.

 

A public hearing on the proposed 2022-2023 budget will be held on Monday, June 27, 2022 at 6:45 p.m. in the Hastings Middle School Commons followed by the June Board of Education Meeting at 7:00 p.m.

Hastings City Council - May 23

The Hastings City Council has long discussed the need for an improved emergency services facility to replace the current undersized and aging fire station.  At the May 23rd meeting the Council approved an agreement with C2AE of Grand Rapids in the amount of $35,230 for site evaluation and design services of a new emergency services building to house the fire department, and potentially the city police and ambulance.

 

The site to be evaluated is city-owned property on East State Street near Bliss that is currently used for semi truck parking.  C2AE will complete the analysis and prepare conceptual site and floor plans as well as estimated project costs for Council to consider in developing funding options.

Gun Lake Casino breaks ground on Hotel & Resort expansion

Gun Lake Casino has officially broken ground on the upcoming $300-million addition to the west side of the property. The expansion will transform the casino into a hotel resort with countless amenities.

“Phase 5 will transform the property into becoming a first-class destination resort. Without question, its design attributes will create a unique entertainment experience,” said Gun Lake Casino CEO, Sal Semola. “Over the past eleven years, the Gun Lake Tribe and our Gun Lake Casino Team Members have worked tirelessly to make this all a possibility. This is just the next step towards making our property the premier entertainment destination in the Midwest.”


The resort will feature multiple pools inside a six-story Aquadome with 32,000 square feet of space that can transform into a concert venue, banquet center and entertainment venue. The hotel will consist of 15 floors with 252 rooms including 30 suites, and a two-level suite. 350 jobs are expected to be created as part of the addition to the property.


“Job creation is one of the many things we’re excited about with this expansion,” Semola added. “We take great pride in providing career opportunities with outstanding benefits for people in our community. These jobs will include guest relations, housekeeping, entertainment, and several other departments.”


Sandhill Café will make its return inside the new expansion, featuring a three-meal venue designed around 137 seats which features a flexible layout for individual and group settings. Gun Lake and the surrounding area will have a large influence on the color palette inside of each Guestroom and Suite.


“We are thrilled to begin taking the next steps in expanding not only Gun Lake Casino’s offerings but also our career opportunities to those in the surrounding communities,” said Tribal Chairman Bob Peters. “We are committed to continuously investing in the future of the Tribe, the community, and our current and future Team Members.”


World-renowned HBG Design has taken the reins on the layout of Phase 5. HBG has been creating memorable and transformative Guest experiences for over 42 years in over 40 Sovereign Nations across the United States. The Aquadome’s dynamic form is sculpted by the sun’s daily path across the site and will reflect the dynamic sky from all four of Michigan’s vivid seasons.


“HBG Design is excited to be leading the architecture and interior design for the $300-million expansion of Gun Lake Casino featuring a 252 room 4-diamond hotel, spa, and multi-purpose Aquadome,” said Paul Bell, AIA, Principal of HBG Design. “The Aquadome is sure to become a must-see feature. A resort pool by day and performance complex by night, the glass-enclosed circular structure will generate an immense sense of energy inside and out, while offering a variety of complementary entertainment and gathering opportunities for resort guests and entertainment-seekers from the tri-state area. Our team is dedicated to helping the Gun Lake Tribe fulfill its vision for the future of its popular entertainment facility. We have enjoyed working diligently together with the Tribe and Casino Operations to envision a unique expansion design that sets them on that path to success.”


The top two floors of the hotel will feature a two-story suite with a unique living space showcasing a grand staircase, double-height window, and residential elevator. Guests can also enjoy a full-service bar, billiards table, and a larger bar upstairs with both indoor and outdoor dining and lounge areas.


Construction on the west side of Gun Lake Casino will begin in late May with an expected completion of March 2025.

 

 

Update: Battle Creek man arrested at a Barry County Campground

A 24 year old Battle creek man was arrested monday afternoon after getting into a dispute with his girlfriend that turned into a violent situation at Welcome Woods campground near Hastings.

 

Before State Police Troopers arrived at the campground, the man had threatened to kill other campers and fired a shot from his handgun. The woman was able to escape . The suspect barricaded himself inside an RV and refused State Police commands to come out.  Backup was called in from the Barry County Sheriff's office. The suspect finally surrendered and was taken to the Barry County Jail.

 

Update: The suspect involved in the barricaded gunman incident is identified as Trevor Dean Leiter, 24-year-old male from Battle Creek. He was arraigned on 3 counts of felonious assault and reckless discharge of firearm charges.  

 

There were no injuries reported and no immediate threat to any other campers or nearby residents.  MSP was assisted at the scene by deputies from the Barry County Sheriff Office. 

Thornapple River Rescue

 

 

Four people,  two adults and two children were rescued from the Thornapple River wednesday around 5:30-pm.

Thornapple Township Emergency Services said the four were trapped under the Irving bridge near Barry Countys' McCann road. Chief Randy Eaton said they were hungup on some branches and logs. People are  asked to stay off the river for the time being.

Delton Kellogg Has a New Superintendent

 

 

Delton Kellogg  Schools has a new Superintendent. He is Dr. Herman Lartigue, Jr., Elementary School Assistant Principal,of Klein Independent School
District, Spring, Texas.
.

He is replacing Kyle Corlet who left in 2021.

Fatal Hit and Run accident UPDATE

 

UPDATE...

 Barry Township Police told WBCH News they have recovered the dodge durango that struck and killed Mica LeBeau last early Sunday morning on Delton road.   Police are still looking for the driver who fled the scene.

 

 

 

A Delton woman was killed by a hit and run driver around 2am Sunday morning while walking on Delton Road near the Grove Street intersection.  Barry Township Police identified the victim as 21 year old Mica LeBeau. LeBeau was pronounced dead at the scene.

 

Officers believe the vehicle that struck her was a blue 2004-2006 Dodge Durango.  Police say a surveillance video shows the vehicle had a New England Patriots sticker on the side. 

 

Barry Township Police are asking anyone who may have any information about the crash to call 269-623-5512 or email the department:   barrytwppd@mei.net

COVID-19 Cases Identified at Large Events in Barry County

The Barry-Eaton District Health Department (BEDHD) has been made aware of a series of events in Barry County where several individuals who attended later tested positive for COVID-19. The events occurred at the Barry Community Enrichment Center in Hastings, MI on the following dates:

 

• Wednesday, May 4, 2022: Dress Rehearsal (~70 people attended)

• Thursday, May 5, 2022: Performance (~115 people attended)

• Thursday, May 5, 2022: After Performance Gathering (~115 people attended)

 

Everyone in attendance at these events is considered to have been exposed to COVID-19. The event organizers have decided to cancel future performances out of an abundance of caution. These events are an example of how quickly COVID-19 can spread through a community via large gatherings or events. In order to keep the community safe and protect folks who are most vulnerable, BEDHD is encouraging those who attended and are unvaccinated or at high risk of severe illness to:

• Get tested at least 5 days after exposure • Watch for symptoms until 10 days after exposure

• If symptoms develop, isolate immediately and get tested • Wear a well-fitting mask in public

• Avoid being around people who are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 To be safe at large events this summer, everyone is encouraged to stay up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccines, get tested before and after large events (and monitor for symptoms after an event), social distance when appropriate and wear a mask if you believe you may be at higher risk of severe illness due to COVID-19. COVID-19 rapid antigen testing and PCR testing are available to individuals of any age, regardless of symptoms. 


For more information, visit https://barryeatonhealth.org/covid-19-center or www.michigan.gov/coronavirus.

Fatal Accident

The Barry County Sheriff’s Office reports that a man died Thursday afternoon when his pickup truck was involved in an accident around 3:40pm.  Officers say 76 year old Roland Ferris was driving an F150 pickup northbound on M-43 highway, south of Quimby Road in Rutland township when his truck struck the rear of an MDOT truck and trailer. 

 

The vehicle continued north on M-43 as the MDOT vehicle turned into a parking area. Ferris’s truck then failed to negotiate a curve north of Tillotson Lake Road, leaving the roadway until it struck several trees.

 

Witnesses and passing motorists removed the driver from the truck and initiated CPR until emergency responders arrived. Ferris was pronounced deceased at Spectrum Health Pennock Hospital.

 

The accident is being investigated by the Sheriff’s Office. Officers were assisted on scene by Hastings/Birch medical first responders, Mercy ambulance, Freeport fire, and Barry Central dispatch.

Michigan State Police Seize Voting Machine in Investigations

State Police raided the office of Barry County's Irving township as part of an investigation into reports of unauthorized access to voting machines after the 2020 elections.

 

One tabulator was seized in Irving township on Friday, April 29th according to Barry County Clerk Pam Palmer.

 

In February, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson asked the state's attorney general and state police to investigate reports of an "unnamed third party" gaining unauthorized access to voting technology in Roscommon County.

 

State Police lt. Derrick Carroll said the inquiry had expanded to more counties, including Irving, after being notified of other election systems breaches.

Money for School Safety

 

 

150 schools in Michigan including Maple Valley Schools will receive a share of $10-million dollars to help keep students safe while in the classroom.

Maple Valley will receive $100,000 dollars.  A total of 40 schools  in Michigan will receive the grant funding.

They have until July 1, 2023 to spend their award money.

 

 

 

May 3rd Election Results

Voters in the Hastings Area School District turned down a 23.9 million dollar bond request by a 52% to 48% margin: 

1885 Yes

2074 No

 

The Delton Kellogg Operating Millage was approved 54% to 46%:

604 Yes

520 no

 

Gull Lake Schools Sinking Fund Millage Renewal passed 60% to 40%  (a small portion of the Gull Lake district is in Barry County).

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