Local News Archives for 2022-12

Downtown Hastings Ball Drop to bring in New Year for 13th time

The annual Ball Drop in Hastings this New Year’s Eve has all of the features of past celebrations and more. Children’s activities, music, dancing, hot chocolate, fire pits, a warming tent, a light and sound show at midnight and free fun Run/Walk starting from Thornapple Plaza just minutes into the new year are all part of the evening.


A DJ and live musical talent will keep the festive mood swinging until the ball drop at midnight officially ends 2022 and welcomes in 2023 and the singing of Auld Lang Syne.


It all starts at 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31 at the corner of State and Jefferson streets in downtown Hastings.

Hastings Kiwanis Club receives $6,350 for playground project

Hastings Kiwanis Club members received a generous $6,350 gift from the Women’s Giving Circle of Barry County for their continued work on the playground at Southeastern Elementary School.


According to presenter Carla Wilson-Neil, the Women’s Giving Circle of Barry County has raised about a quarter of a million dollars for non-profits in Barry County since the women’s group was formed and a few women decided that a difference could be made by each woman giving a quarter donation. Now, during their quarterly meetings, the group decides whom to donate to for that period.


Well over 100 Barry County women now make donations each quarter to the chosen not-for-profit. Kiwanis was selected at the November meeting.


Many of the Kiwanis women who are also part of the Women’s Giving Circle of Barry County, and Kiwanis members whose wives are likewise a member of the Giving Circle, gathered with Carla Wilson-Neil to accept the gift which will now allow Kiwanis to continue to work with Southeastern Elementary School on the next phase of the playground renovation.









Photo (front row l to r):  Lyn Briel; Carla Wilson-Neil; Dave Tripp; Jed Nelson; Rod Jenison; Jed Nelson, who serves as the foreman on the playground project and Kiwanis member; (back row l to r) Carl Lickley; Korin Ayers, playground chairwoman for Kiwanis; and, Barb Pietrangelo. 

State Police Investigate Pedestrian Related Fatal Crash

Troopers from the Michigan State Police (MSP) Wayland post are investigating a fatal pedestrian related crash that occurred Tuesday, December 20, around 5:40 p.m. on M-89 and 6th St. in Gun Plain Twp near Plainwell.

Trooopers say the fatal injuries were the result of a secondary collision following an initial crash between a Toyota SUV that was stopped and waiting to turn off from eastbound M-89 Hwy and a Honda minivan. The Honda minivan rearended the stopped Toyota SUV.

Following the rearend collision, the driver of the Honda minivan exited his vehicle, walked into the path of a Dodge minivan traveling westbound on M-89 Hwy and was struck and killed.


The deceased pedestrian was described as Pau Khan Kap, a 72-year-old Battle Creek man. A fourth vehicle, a Honda SUV traveling eastbound on M-89 Hwy, was also struck by the Dodge minivan. The driver of the Honda SUV, a 56-year-old Plainwell woman, was not injured.

The driver of the Dodge minivan, a 46-year-old Richland man was not injured, however, the driver of the Toyota SUV, a 51-year-old Plainwell woman, suffered minor injuries. Seatbelts appeared to be worn by all vehicle occupants and alcohol and drugs are not believed to be a factor.

MSP would like to remind occupants of a vehicle involved in a crash to avoid exiting their vehicle to prevent from becoming a victim of a secondary collision. “It is safer to remain in your vehicle with your seatbelt fastened and wait for first responders, unless remaining in your vehicle is unsafe,” says Lt. DuWayne Robinson, Fifth District PIO.

Troopers were assisted at the scene by Plainwell Department of Public Safety, Otsego Police Department, Allegan County Sheriff’s office, and Gun Plain Township Fire Department and Plainwell Emergency Medical Services.

This crash remains open pending further investigation.

HASS December Board of Education Summary

Monday night, the Hastings Area School System Board of Education held its December board meeting at Hastings Middle School. The evening began with comments from Superintendent Matt Goebel and board members.


The Hastings winter break is a week away and students are preparing for final exams. Winter break will start after the half day of school this Friday through January 8, resuming on Monday, January 9, 2023. The maintenance department will be working on many projects over the next two weeks including backflow and hood inspections, painting and whiteboard installation.


There were 86 scheduled events at the Hastings Performing Arts Center this past semester, and the revenue has already exceeded all of last years.

The Board took action on approving the first budget amendment based on the fall enrollment count, which is slightly up from this past spring.

The Board recognized donations from the Barry County United Way for $1,250 in support of the new facility dog at Star Elementary. The Thomas Dwight Stephens Trust donated $5,630 to assist with costs of the new FFA Barn. The Baum Family Foundation donated $15,000 in support of the Hastings High School musical and finally, the board accepted an anonymous donation of $750 to assist with Northeastern Elementary classroom needs.

The next Hastings Board of Education meeting will be held at Southeastern Elementary School on January 16, 2023, at 7:00 p.m.

Board of Commissioners

At the Barry County Commission meeting on Tuesday, the Board approved the 2022 Revised Apportionment Report, and approved the 2023 grant agreement with the state for continuation of the Re-monumentation program.


The agreement was approved between Barry County and MSU for Extension Service programming for the coming year, and money released from the Norris Road Forest Property Fund to partially fund a position for 4-H Program Coordination of educational programs.


Employee Service Awards were given out to recognize five county employees celebrating significant anniversaries of their service to Barry County.


The Board passed a resolution urging the State Legislature to amend the Michigan

Auto Insurance Reform Act to change the reimbursement cap for auto accident victims and home health care.


During public comment several individuals, mostly lake residents, expressed support for a Drain to regulate the lake level on Pine Lake, which has been rising in recent years causing property damage, flooding, and erosion.  The subject has been brought up in the past but was tabled by Commissioners, so no action has been taken to lower the lake level. Those who commented urged the Board to un-table the matter to let the Drain Commissioner actively work on a solution.


Near the end of the meeting, the Board passed three resolutions recognizing and honoring Howard ‘Hoot’ Gibson, Ben Geiger, and Vivian Conner for their time and accomplishments as they leave the Board of Commissioners.  Geiger has served as Chair after first being elected to the Board in 2011.  Conner has been Vice-Chair after serving for 8 years. Hoot Gibson retires after a historic tenure, having served since his election to the Board since 2004 -- the longest serving Commissioner in Barry County history.  It was pointed out that GIBSON HAS NEVER MISSED a regular meeting of the Board.

Hastings City Council news

The Hastings City Council met this week and approved the final site plan for Tyden Lofts, with the contingencies recommended by the Hastings Planning Commission. That paves the way for the Tyden Lofts multi-family housing project to proceed.


Tyden Lofts will be a three-story development on West State Street between Broadway and Park Street. When completed, it will include 60 units: one and two bedroom apartments and three bedroom townhomes. All the units will be occupied by low-income persons and families. 


The City Council also approved a tax exemption ordinance for Tyden Lofts.


The Council agreed to the transfer of a City Garbage Agreement from Les’s Sanitary Services to Granger Waste Services, Inc.   Granger acquired Les’s and took over on December 1st.

Stuff Our Station Final Update

WBCH and our Partners; McDonalds of Hastings, Southside Pediatrics, PFCU Caledonia & Lake Odessa Branches are continuing to collect new unwrapped gifts and Toys for Barry County Kids. Toys will be collected until this Friday and then will be taken to the Barry County United Way to be distributed just in time for Christmas!  Lani Forbes, Director of Barry County United Way talked with Chad Henry this morning to give us a final weekly update about the Program, how to you can still register for help and update of age groups signed up. 


Fatal Traffic Crash

On Thursday, December 8th at 3:00pm, deputies from the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office responded to a single car accident that occurred on eastbound I-96 near the Hastings Road overpass in Boston Township. The preliminary investigation showed that a Jeep Cherokee driven by a Lake Odessa man was travelling eastbound on I-96 near Hastings Road when the vehicle left the roadway and stuck several small trees before coming to a stop.


The driver, Louis Rumsey, 50 years old of Lake Odessa, was taken to Butterworth hospital but did not survive.  It is believed Rumsey had a medical issue which caused him to lose control of his vehicle and crash, but further investigation is necessary. 


The Ionia County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Michigan State Police Lakeview Post, Saranac Fire Department, Bowne Township Fire Department, Life EMS, and Reed & Hoppes Towing.

WBCH Stuff Our Station toy collection weekly update

WBCH and our Partners; McDonalds of Hastings, Southside Pediatrics, PFCU Caledonia & Lake Odessa Branches are continuing to collect new unwrapped gifts and Toys for Barry County Kids. Toys will be collected until Friday December 16th and then will be taken to the Barry County United Way to be distributed just in time for Christmas!  Lani Forbes, Director of Barry County United Way talked with Chad Henry this morning about the Program, how to register for help and update of age groups signed up. 

Currently there is a large group of boys in the 11-18yr range signed up.  suggested gift ideas, sporting goods, hunting & fishing, nintendo switch game, blue tooth, legos, skateboard, sleeping bags, pop up tents, smart watch,  pogo or hockey sticks, blue tooth speaker, crafts kits., fortnite, k-nex set, Gift Cards.


Delton Restaurant gets a whopping Utility Bill, asks for help

The owners of Heroes Foods & Spirits at the corner of M-43 and Grove Street in Delton created a GoFundMe fundraiser Sunday after being hit with gas bills totaling almost $40,000.

"We opened in January 2022 with very minimal start up cash," Shannon Ertner wrote on the fundraiser she created. "In February, our Consumer's Energy gas bill was $7401. We contacted Consumers immediately and had them check their 'smart meters,' They came out again to check for any gas leaks. They found nothing wrong. In March, our gas bill jumped to $11,993. We were talking with a customer, who just happened to be a furnace guy, and when he looked at the furnace, he noticed the heat exchanger had malfunctioned and was pouring out natural gas; we had no choice but to replace the furnace at the cost of $14,500."

Heroes Foods & Spirits is known as a family-owned restaurant that honors veterans. Local families are invited to post pictures of their service members. Since launching their GoFundMe, the Delton establishment has raise just over 10% of the $40,000 goal.

"This is something no one could have predicted, so we are asking/begging our family and friends to help us in any way they can," Ertner shared. "Any funds raised that exceed our goal will be donated back to Barry County Veterans."


To view the GoFundMe, please visit:


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