Local News Archives for 2023-07

Summer Fun and Art in The Park


Lots of summer fun things to do like heading to Lake Odessa  for their annual Art in the Park. Enjoy a day of art, food and fun on August 5th from 9-am to 4-pm. 

Over 80 venders will display many one-of-a-kind art in various mediums.

Plenty of entertainment, live music, dancing and food.

Moon Watchers August is Special


Moon Watchers a sturgeon supermoon is coming Tuesday. After sunset look to the southeast to catch a glimpse of the rising sturgeon moon named for the large fish in the Great Lakes, which were easily caught this time of the year.


August will also see a rare Super Blue moon on August 30-31 which will appear and reach its peak illumination at 9:36 pm EDT.

On average, supermoons appear about seven percent bigger and about fifteen percent brighter than a typical full moon. Enjoy!

Thunderstorms and Power Outages


Rain  and Thunderstorms moved across West Michigan including Hastings and Barry County during the night. The storms knocked out power to over four hundred Barry County Consumers Energy Customers.

The Hastings National Weather Service Climatological Station recorded 1.01 inches of rain bringing our July Total to date to 6.35 inches of rain.

Hastings Pastor Serves as Master of Ceremony In Ordination of New Bishop

Father Jeff Hanley, pastor of St. Rose Of Lima Catholic Church in Hastings,  organized and served as Master of Ceremony as the Diocese of Kalamazoo ordained its fifth bishop Tuesday afternoon.

Pope Francis appointed Edward Lohse from  the Diocese of Erie,  Pennsylvania as the New Bishop replacing retiring Bishop Paul Bradley.

The three hour ceremony  was held at St. Augustine Cathedral in Kalamazoo.


Photo: Father Hanley assisting New Bishop during the Ordination ceremony.

Barry Board of Commissioners

After revisions were made by the Planning Commission, the final draft of Barry County’s new Master Plan went before the Board of Commissioners Meeting on Tuesday and was adopted.  The planning process started in early 2022.  Board Chairman David Jackson congratulated Jim McManus and the Planning Commission for completing the process, and announced that the new Barry County Master Plan has been selected by the Michigan Chapter of the American Planning Association as recipient of the 2023 Outstanding Best Practices Award.


Another topic that was brought up by Commissioner Mark Doster is the presence of Spongy Moths, formerly called Gypsy Moths, that are apparently becoming more prevalent in parts of the county.  The invasive yellow and black caterpillars emerge from tan, fuzzy egg masses and feed on leaves, causing stress and sometimes killing trees.  Persons who notice infestations on their property are urged to contact the Barry Conservation District so that they can gauge how widespread of a problem the pests are becoming.

Former State Street Diner Building Taken Down

What was once the popular State Street Diner in Hastings is now being torn down and removed after owner Lee Campbell retired, and sold the location to a car wash company.  

The popular restaurant brought customers to Hastings from all over West Michigan.




Hastings Streetscape Improvements

Shovels should soon hit the ground for the long awaited Streetscape Improvement Project in downtown Hastings after the City Council approved bids totaling $3,035,358 for construction, streetscape amenities, and new street-light poles on State Street.


Planning for the improvements has been going on for about three years with several amenities and features in the plans to encourage residents and out-of-town visitors to spend more time and money shopping and hanging out in downtown Hastings. The project is funded mainly through the Hastings DDA.

Hastings names a new Fire Chief

Hastings has a new Fire Chief after the Hastings City Council, on a divided vote, confirmed the appointment of Mark Jordan to the post on the recommendation of City Manager Sarah Moyer-Cale.


Moyer-Cale reported to the Council that the city received 15 applications for the fire chief position which were narrowed down to six applicants who were interviewed. From those interviews, the panel narrowed down the final three candidates. A town hall meeting was scheduled, and the candidates were invited to participate in answering questions from City Manager Moyer-Cale and members of the public who attended.


Jordan becomes the Hastings/Birch Fire Departments next chief following the unexpected death in April of this year of longtime chief Roger Caris.  Assistant Fire Chief Rick Krouse has served as interim Chief since Caris’s passing. Numerous members of the public as well as the Mayor and Council members praised Rick Krouse for his dedication and service to the department and community, while many expressed disappointment that Krouse was not promoted from within as Chief. 


Mark Jordan holds an Associate of Science degree and various certifications. He served in the Bellevue Fire Department for many years including over five years as Fire Chief. He has also been a business owner and communications engineer in his prior experience.

Housing Development to move forward at former Royal Coach site

The Hastings City Council gave final approval Monday night to the site plan and Planned Unit Development for a mixed-use residential development on the north shore of the Thornapple River, where the former Royal Coach building stood on Mill Street. The project will bring 135 apartment units to the city and will be built in two stages; the first stage to include three apartment buildings, parking, a promenade connecting to the Thornapple River pedestrian bridge, and other infrastructure.   Later a commercial building, farmers market, and parking will be added in stage two.


The site plan gained the approval and recommendation of the City Planning Commission early in July by developer CopperRock Construction. CopperRock is naming the development the Thornapple River Mill Project and will use external brick and architectural features reminiscent of the old Hastings Table Company’s Royal Coach building.


In his monthly report to the Council, Community Development Director Dan King said that in addition to the Thornapple River Mill Project on the Royal Coach site,  construction should begin soon along West State Street on the 60 unit 'Tyden Lofts' housing project west of the Adrounie House and former Barry County Friend of the Court building. Plus, the Hastings Planning Commission has been working with Meadowstone Apartments which is seeking to add five more buildings to their planned unit development on South Hanover/Barfield Drive to add around 90 one-bedroom apartments.

M-37 Lane Closures

MDOT Lane closures for road work are scheduled for today (Monday) and tomorrow between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. on M-37 between Hastings and Middleville from Timber Creek Drive to Golden Lane. 

Fatal Auto Crash

18 year old Bayne Signeski of Hastings died Saturday, July 8th in a vehicle crash in Allegan County.


According to the Allegan County Sheriff Office Signeski, driving a Chevrolet Cruise, was heading south on M-40 when he tried to pass another vehicle and crashed head-on into a pickup truck.


A celebration of life will be held Friday July 14th from 2:30 to 5-pm at the Legacy Golf Course in Hastings.  The Family has asked for the gathering to be a "White Out" to honor Bayne, so please wear white.

Rain and Thunderstorms

Rain and Thunderstorms moved through  West Michigan and the Hastings Barry County Area Wednesday afternoon.

 The Hastings National Weather Service Climatological Station recorded 2.16 inches of Rain from 4:00-PM Wednesday to 1:30-AM Thursday morning.

MSU Researchers receive Grant to study soil health amid changing rainfall patterns

A team of MSU researchers has received $750,000. grant from the  U.S. Dept. of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture to evaluate soil health changes from rainfall and/or drought.

The team will explore the effects summer weather patterns of extreme droughts and intensive rainfalls have on soils in Midwest corn, soybean and wheat production systems.

According to the National Weather Service, many areas of Michigan experienced one of the driest months of May on record.  Lansing had the fifth driest, while Grand Rapids saw it's second driest.  The lack of precipitation stunted the progress of many crops across the state.

Researchers are focusing on two primary determinations of soil health: structure and organic matter.

A four year experiment will be initiated at the W. K. Kellogg Biological Station in Hickory Corners.

State PoliceTrooper Brian Roderick To Retire


 After 28 years as a State Police Trooper Brian Roderick is retiring. Trooper Roderick was assigned to the Hastings Post Detachment serving residents of Barry and Allegan Counties. He later was re-assigned to the Wayland post..

Over the years he and his family have made many friends in both counties.

There will be cake an refreshments served at the Blue Wagyu   12300 Bowens Mill rd, Wayland from  12-pm to 3-pm.on July 28th.   Public is invited to join the celebration.

Mosquitos Positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis found in Barry County

Michigan residents are urged to take precautions against mosquito bites as mosquitos collected in Barry County on June 30th, 2023 have tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Bureau of Laboratories.

Although no cases have been diagnosed in people or animals, it is important to know they can be infected with EEE from one bite of a mosquito carrying the virus. Anyone can become ill with EEE. People under age 15 and over age 50 are at greatest risk of severe disease following an EEE infection.


EEE is one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases in the United States, with a 33% fatality rate in people who become ill.” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive, in a press release earlier this week.
Signs of EEE infection include sudden onset of fever, chills and body and joint aches that can progress to severe encephalitis, resulting in headache, disorientation, tremors, seizures and paralysis. Anyone who thinks they may be experiencing these symptoms should contact a medical provider. Permanent brain damage, coma and death may occur in some cases.


Residents can stay healthy by using simple, effective strategies to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites. The following steps are recommended to avoid mosquito-borne diseases:

• Apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET or other EPA-approved products to exposed skin or clothing. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions for use.
• Wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors. Apply insect repellent to clothing to help prevent bites.
• Maintain window and door screening to keep mosquitos outside.
• At least once a week, empty water from mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as buckets, unused children’s pools, old tires and other water-holding containers where mosquitos can lay eggs.


Horses are also vulnerable to EEE, with a 90% fatality rate in horses that become ill. The disease is not spread by horse-to-horse or horse-to-human contact. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development recommends that owners protect their horses by:

• Talking to their veterinarian about vaccinating horses against EEE and other mosquito-borne diseases.
• Placing horses and other livestock in a barn under fans during peak mosquito activity (from dusk to dawn).
• Using an insect repellant on animals that is approved for the species.
• Contacting a veterinarian if an animal shows signs of illness.


As of June 30, more than 600 mosquito pools had been tested in Michigan during 2023. In addition to the recent discovery in Barry County, a mosquito pool in Bay County also tested positive for EEE, and a mosquito pool in Saginaw County tested positive for Jamestown Canyon virus.


In 2022, there were no human cases of EEE, however, EEE caused the death of three horses from Eaton, Roscommon and St. Joseph counties and one bird from Houghton County. In 2021, there was one human case of EEE. In 2020, there were four human cases of EEE, two of which were fatal. In 2019, Michigan had 10 cases of EEE, six of which were fatal.

Hastings Walmart store closed Thursday due to bomb threat

Michigan State Police, the Barry County Sheriff’s Office, Hastings City Police, Fire and Ambulance emergency personnel all responded Thursday to a bomb threat at the Walmart Store in Hastings.

The building was immediately evacuated and the parking lot cleared as much as possible while Walmart employees stood outside waiting at the far end of the parking lot. Michigan State Police brought in two canine teams to search the building but found no explosives.

The Walmart store was finally re-opened around 3:15pm after police completed the search and issued an all-clear.


E-Filing is coming to 56B District Court

The 56B District Court is in the final stages of implementing MiFILE, an e-filing initiative sponsored by the Michigan Supreme Court and the State Court Administrative Office. 


MiFILE is a statewide e-filing system that provides the ability to electronically file documents in any Michigan court, 24 hours a day, without traveling to a courthouse and waiting in line. It also allows parties to electronically serve one another with documents, and to receive documents and notifications electronically from the courts.


Rules have been changed to support the switchover from paper forms to electronic documents.


MiFILE is intended to increase access to justice, allow flexibility to litigants, and enable courts to be come more efficient by reducing the need to receive, process, store, and retrieve paper files.


Chief Judge William Doherty said, “The Barry County Trial Court is proud to serve our Community and offer this new way of filing Court documents. While there is always some difficulty adapting to chane, MiFILE has proven to be a great way to save time and taxpayer dollars.”


56B District Court will officially accept e-filings beginning July 13th.  Attorneys will be mandated to e-file,  while self-represented parties may participate in the program, but will not be required to do so.

Good Samaritan Saves a Woman's Life

This past Saturday Bridget Kuhlman, a registered medical assistant at Family Tree Medical Associates in Hastings, saved a customers life at Sajo's Pizza in Delton when she and her husband stopped for a meal.

Kuhlman and her husband just started to eat when they heard a woman at the table behind them in distress.. Kuhlman quickly responded and helped save the woman's life.




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