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BigRapidsDailyNews : Breaking News

Court of Appeals strikes down minimum wage increase

A ruling by the Michigan Court of Appeals stops the state's minimum wage from increasing to $13.03 in February and keeps current wage and benefit requirements intact.

 

The Thursday ruling reverses a lower court decision in July of last year that would have increased minimum wage in the state by nearly $3. Had the Court of Appeals not acted, minimum wage in the state would have increased from $10.10 to $13.03, and tipped minimum wage would have also increased significantly, eventually matching minimum wage in 2024.

 

The decision will be appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court.


State Senate approves earned income tax credit expansion

Michigan's Earned Income Tax Credit will be expanded under a bill passed Thursday by the State Senate on a vote of 27-11.

 

The plan's sponsor Democrat Kristen McDonald Rivet says it will lift more taxpayers out of poverty. But a number of Republicans voted no, saying they favor tax relief that would benefit all Michigan taxpayers.

 

The State Senate also approved a plan to eliminate the socalled retirement tax, on Michiganders who receive a pension.


Nurses at McLaren Central Health vote to strike

Nurses at McLaren Central in Mount Pleasant have voted to authorize a potential strike.

 

In doing so, they joined nurses at MyMichigan Alma, which also voted to provide their elected bargaining team with the ability to call for a strike. The Michigan Nurses Association says the votes come despite McLaren threatening nurses with the loss of healthcare and even their jobs should they strike.

 

The union says a 10-day notice would be provided before any strike begins at either hospital.

 

Nurses at both facilities have been working under expired contracts since November.


Whitmer calls for lawmakers to pass cuts in retirement taxes, increases in earned income tax credit during speech

"The state of our state is strong, and ready to go." Those words from Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer last night, as she delivered her fifth State of the State address inside the state Capitol. 

 

The Governor outlined an agenda during a joint session of the house and senate. 

 

Whitmer first addressed Michiganders affected by inflation. 

 

"The #1 issue for folks trying to make ends meet is costs. First: let’s roll back the retirement tax, saving half a million households $1,000 a year. Second: let’s expand the Working Families Tax Credit, delivering at least $3,000 refunds to 700,000 families. And third: Pre-K for All to save families an average of $10,000 a year and ensure every 4-year-old in Michigan gets a great start. With inflation, every dollar saved makes a difference. That’s why we’re moving fast. Parts of the plan have already been introduced by Representatives Witwer and Shannon and Senators Hertel and McDonald Rivet. Let’s get it done." Whitmer said. 

 

With a state budget surplus projected to reach over $9-Billion by next fall, the Governor also proposed funding for free preschool access to all 4-year-olds in Michigan.   

 

"Let’s expand our bipartisan preschool effort—the Great Start Readiness Program—so every 4-year-old in Michigan can access a free, public preschool education by the end of my second term. This investment will ensure children arrive at kindergarten ready to learn and saves their families upwards of $10,000 a year. It helps parents, especially moms, go back to work. And it will launch hundreds more preschool classrooms across Michigan, supporting thousands of jobs. Together, we can lower costs for Michiganders feeling the pain of inflation right now. For our seniors, families, and kids, let’s get this done." Whitmer said. 

 

Whitmer also announced wanting to have universal background checks for people who want to buy firearms and strict safe storage laws. 

 

To read the full speech CLICK HERE


White Cloud woman arrested for hitting school bus while intoxicated

A woman in Lincoln Township, near White Cloud, has been arrested for t-boning a school bus while drunk.

 

Tuesday night, Deputies in Newaygo County received a call in Lincoln Township that an SUV, driven by a 49-year-old woman from White Cloud, failed to stop at the scene of a crash. They were able to locate the SUV near the scene.

 

She was charged with failure to stop at the scene of a crash, operating while intoxicated and resisting.

 

The White Cloud Public Schools bus driver and two passengers were not injured.


Ferris State student collaboration hosting fundraiser for women's heart health

In partnership with Ferris State Athletics, the Sports Careers student organization and sports
communication classes will be hosting a “Red Out” fundraiser event to support women’s heart health
and Corewell’s Big Rapids Cardiopulmonary Unit.


The event will be taking place Saturday, Feb. 11 during the Ferris State women’s basketball at 1:00 p.m., men’s basketball at 3:00 p.m., and hockey game at 6:07 p.m. in the Ewingleben Sports Complex.


“It's great to be back promoting our annual Red Out the Wink and the Rink event for Corewell Health Big Rapids Cardiac Rehabilitation Unit in celebration of the American Heart Associations ‘Go Red for
Women’ campaign,” Sports communication professor and advisor Sandra Alspach said.


Silent auction items will be available at the event for bidding, including Grand Rapids Griffins gear, Ferris football and hockey signed memorabilia, and other local business gift baskets. All proceeds as well as other donations during event activities go directly to the Big Rapids Cardiopulmonary unit.


All fans and attendees are encouraged to wear red alongside all three teams in support of the cause.


“We are very excited to be participating in the Red Out game on Feb. 11 vs Bemidji State University,”
Ferris State hockey coach Bob Daniels said. “The event will help bring attention to women’s heart health and will also be a great opportunity for our fans to show school spirit.”


For more information, following the club on social media at “Ferris State Sports Careers RSO” and on
ferrisstatebulldogs.com.


Slick roads cause three separate crashes in Mecosta Co. Wednesday

There were a handful of accidents in Mecosta County Wednesday because of slick roads due to snow and ice.

 

The Mecosta County Sheriff's Office says the first one happened on US-131 Southbound near 18 Mile Rd in Green Twp. The accident occurred when a 70-year old man from Indiana loss control of his vehicle and rolled in the median. The driver received non-life threatening injuries.

 

The second, happened  on 9 Mile Rd east of 50th Ave in Wheatland Township. The accident occurred when a 32-year-old man lost control of his vehicle and crossed a ditch hitting a wire fence and fence post. The driver had no injuries and the female passenger had non-life threatening injuries.

 

The third crash happened  at 5 Mile and 130th Ave in Deerfield Twp. Two New York residents were traveling east bound, lost control and struck a tree. The passenger, a 57-year-old from New York, suffered non-life-threatening injuries. The driver, 57-year-old man, was not hurt.


Late night food delivery service satisfying Mecosta Co. residents cravings

Have you ever craved something sweet in the middle of the night but there was no delivery and no place open? Well your luck is about to change as two local residents have started a business with you and your cravings in mind. 


Jamie Hillman of Mecosta and Shante Johnson-Deason of Weidman started ‘Midnight Mobile Munchies’ a late night delivery service operating Fridays and Saturdays from 8pm-3am offering desserts and other delicious sweets. They also deliver throughout Mecosta County.   


"We are night owls and we like to bake, so one night we were just sitting and I had a craving for something sweet like chocolate cake, I live in Mecosta and there is not a lot around here in terms of delivery especially after a certain time and that’s when I had the idea that there has to more people like me craving the munchies during late night hours and that’s how we created ‘Midnight Mobile Munchies’ ” Hillman said. 


Midnight Mobile Munchie sells its goods under the Cottage Law for the state of Michigan. 


Everything is baked fresh, we sell brownies, cookies, muffins, no-bake rice crispy treats, chocolate covered pretzels and more. Our menu is always evolving.” Hillman said. 


Last weekend was a pilot weekend for Hillman and Deason to see if their idea would be successful. After posting advertisements on a number of Facebook groups about their business, Hillman says they had a great weekend. 


Friday night we covered our startup costs and Saturday night it blew up for us and we were getting an order every 45 minutes, we were in Big Rapids, Mecosta, Stanwood, up in Barryton.” We were reaching people and it was really neat.” Hillman said.  


Hillman and Deason hope to have another successful weekend. 


For more information or to purchase delicious desserts, log on to MidnightMobileMunchies.com


Two Big Rapids Middle School Students honored

Two Big Rapids Middle School students were honored by the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety this week.

 

On Tuesday, Student Resource Officer Andre Torres presented Aaron Brown and Daniel Langell with awards of excellence.

 

According to the Big Rapids DPS Facebook page, during an unplanned lockdown at the middle school, Brown and Langell were in the gymnasium with a classmate who could not go down the stairs. The two boys acted quickly, picked up their classmate, and took him to a safe area until the lockdown was complete.

 

Big Rapids DPS says their quick actions and selfless behaviors are a true testament to their character.



State Senate working on earned income tax bill

Before you file your 2022 taxes, you may want to wait for the potential passage of Senate Bill 3.

 

The proposal, which is advancing in the State Senate would increase Michigan's Earned Income Tax Credit.

 

If passed, the benefits are retroactive, which means those eligible could see up to an extra $750 dollars on tax returns. Next, the bill has moved to the Michigan Senate floor for a vote.


Judge approves $20 million for unemployment fraud settlement

A judge has approved a $20 million class-action settlement covering thousands of people who were wrongly accused of fraud by Michigan when seeking unemployment benefits.

 

People accused of cheating to get jobless aid, were forced to repay money, along with substantial penalties, before the Unemployment Insurance Agency finally acknowledged widespread errors that affected more than 40,000 people. Although refunds were issued, the state still was sued by people who argued that their right to be heard was violated while they tried to sort things out.

 

Court of Claims Judge Douglas Shapiro, who signed off on the deal last week, says more than 8,000 people have been identified as possible beneficiaries of the settlement so far.


Greenville man charged with felony following assault of another man in Montcalm Co.

A 58-year old Greenville man is behind bars following a fight at a residence in Montcalm County.

It happened late Friday night, deputies were sent to a home in Montcalm Township where they found a 56-year old Greenville man unconscious after being assaulted. Police say the victim was unconscious and bleeding from his head. 

 

EMS transported the Greenville man to Corewell Health Butterworth Hospital. 

 

As of Monday, the victim was taken out of ICU, but remains in the hospital, and is in and out of consciousness. Police arrested the suspect, 58-year old David Thompson at the scene.

 

He has been charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder and remains in jail with a $175,000 bond. 


Alcohol a factor in two vehicle crash

Deputies in Mecosta County believe alcohol is a factor in a two vehicle crash Friday evening. 

 

It happened on Taft Road near New Millpond Road.

 

An investigation found that a 30- year old woman from Big Rapids ran the stop sign and struck a vehicle driven by a 44- year old woman from Big Rapids. 

 

The 30-year old driver was taken by Mecosta Co EMS to Corewell Health Big Rapids for non-life threatening injuries.


Mecosta County Sheriff's Office Blotter: 1/19-1/21

1/19/23

At 3:44pm, deputies made a traffic stop on 30th/Arthur in Sheridan TWP.  The stop resulted in the male driver being arrested on a warrant.  He was lodged at the Mecosta County jail.

 

At 3:00pm, deputies transported a mental patient from Big Rapids Spectrum Hospital to Grand Rapids.

 

Calls for service 7

Car/deer accidents 1

Traffic accidents 2

 

1/20/23

At 1:03am, deputies made a traffic stop on US-131 in Big Rapids TWP.  The stop resulted in the male driver being arrested for OWI.  The male driver was lodged at the Mecosta County Jail.

 

Calls for service 5

Traffic accidents 3

 

1/21/23

Traffic accidents 1

Calls for service 13


Tax Season starts today

The tax season kicks into high gear today when taxpayers can begin filing returns.

 

Tax experts says refunds are expected to be lower than previous years because various tax credits and other programs put into place during the pandemic have been cut or are ending.

 

The filing deadline is April 18th.


Local communities set to receive funding for water management

State Rep. Tom Kunse announced a $14 million grant for Reed City to improve the city’s water management.

 

            The Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) awarded $14 million to Reed City. The CWSRF program is a low-interest financing program that helps qualified local municipalities with the construction of necessary water pollution control facilities. The Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) offers many communities grants to substantially lower the balance of loans taken out for critical water infrastructure projects. These projects include wastewater treatment upgrades and the elimination of combined sewer system overflows, pumping station improvements, and non-point source pollution project to reduce nutrient and contaminant runoff to waterways.

 

            “This vital grant will bring much-needed improvements to the overall management of Reed City’s water,” said Kunse, of Clare. “I hope this serves as a catalyst for further infrastructural improvements in the area.”

 

            Rep. Kunse announced three more projects throughout his district:

 

  • Reed City is set to receive $3.5 million to replace an old and unreliable watermain along Todd Avenue. An estimated 120 lead service lines will also be replaced across the distribution system, and sites will be restored to original condition. Reed City will also replace its water supply well number four, as it has exceeded its useful life and has limited isolation distance to neighboring properties. Additionally, other water system improvements including fire hydrant replacement and Geographic Information System database updates will be made.

 

  • Harrison is set to receive $180,000 for a project involving work related to the city’s Distribution System Materials Inventory (DSMI) and drinking water Asset Management Plan (AMP). Harrison’s drinking water AMP will be updated based on a comprehensive asset inventory as well as other portions of the plan, including condition assessment, water system criticality, level of service assessment, capital improvement plan, and revenue structure development.

 

  • Clare is set to receive nearly $130,000 for a project involving work related to the city’s drinking water AMP. The AMP will be updated based on capital improvement planning and revenue structure development. Moreover, Clare has already updated other portions of its AMP via a comprehensive asset inventory and will incorporate that information into their AMP and existing Geographic Information System database.

 

“These grants will bring much-needed improvements to our community,” Kunse said. “I am eager to see the final product.”


Big Rapids Virtual School selected to receive grant

Big Rapids Public Schools is set to receive a grant for its virtual school.

 

Big Rapids Virtual School along with nine other schools around Michigan will get an ASPIRE grant of $5,000 each as part of being selected by Michigan College Access Network's High School Innovation Grants program.

 

“Michigan’s students deserve robust, equity-based post secondary guidance that prepares them for college and careers,” said Ryan Fewins-Bliss, MCAN executive director. “By addressing systemic inequities and employing best practices, we can help ensure that all students — especially low-income students, first-generation college-going students, and students of color — can access post secondary education that helps them achieve their career goals.”

 

In alignment with Michigan’s Sixty by 30 goal, High School Innovation Grants encourage schools to assess and improve their college-going cultures through a multi-year collaborative process. The schools will work collaboratively with MCAN and community partners to develop sustainable, systems-wide plans to improve post secondary outcomes for their students. This is a new grant program that builds on MCAN’s prior work with high schools.

 

Upon completion of the ASPIRE stage, schools will progress to the ACTIVATE stage, a 12- to 18-month period that includes an additional $10,000 in grant funding, where they will develop and execute plans to improve college-going culture, as well as create data infrastructure to measure student trends. The final stage, ALIGN, is a six- to 12-month period that includes another $10,000 in grant funding. In this stage, the schools will focus on sustaining best practices and sharing results with others in the education community.

 

To learn more about High School Innovation Grants or other MCAN grant programs, visit micollegeaccess.org/grants.


Mecosta County Sheriff's Department Blotter: 1/14-1/18

1/14/23

At 3:07am, deputies responded to an OWI complaint, on Jefferson/ 150th Ave Deerfield TWP. Male driver ran off the roadway causing minor damage to his vehicle. After speaking with subject he advised deputies that he was drinking SFSTs were administer. Subject was taken to BRH for a blood draw and released with a appearance ticket of 02/09/2023 at 9:00am.

 

Calls for service 7

Traffic accidents 1

 

1/15/23

At 9:25pm, deputies responded to a mental health complaint, at a residence in Fork TWP.  Male subject  stated he was suicidal after finding out his wife cheated him. The male subject was transported to BRH for a voluntary eval.

 

At 2:01am, deputies responded to a gas drive off complaint, in Morton TWP. Unknow driver took off in a burgundy Explorer without paying for his gas.

 

At 10:00am, deputies did a mental transport to Indiana.  Male subject was transported from Big Rapids to a mental health facility in Indiana.

 

Calls for service 5

 

1/16/23

At 7:17pm, deputies responded to a larceny complaint at a residence in  Morton Twp.  Male caller  had a pickup parked at male suspect’s residence as it was broken down. Male suspect had been removing parts from caller’s pickup. The caller  had towed the pickup to another residence yesterday after he found out what was going on to his pickup. Attempted contact with suspect, still under investigation

 

At 12:08pm, deputies responded to a fraud complaint, at a residence in Big Rapids TWP.  Male caller sent a photo to who he thought was a girl online, who then requested money to extort him.

 

Calls for service 7

 

1/17/23

At 10:00am, deputies responded to a larceny complaint at a residence in Hinton TWP.  The caller stated that a catalytic converter was cutoff of his vehicle. 

 

At 12:00pm, deputies investigated a retail fraud complaint, at a business in Big Rapids TWP.  The male and female suspect had stolen several items from the store.  The male and female were located and arrested.  The stolen property was recovered and returned to the store.

 

Calls for service 8

Traffic accidents 1

 

1/18/23

At 3:00pm, deputies responded to a larceny complaint, at a residence in Aetna TWP. Male caller had a pre paid credit card taken by another male subject.  Still under investigation.

 

Calls for service 6

Car/deer accidents 2

Traffic accidents 2

 


Montcalm Co. man wins lottery twice!

Playing it safe paid off for a Montcalm County man who won two $110,000 Fantasy 5 Double Play prizes from the Michigan Lottery.


The lucky player, who chose to remain anonymous, matched the Fantasy 5 numbers in the Dec. 17 Double Play drawing to win the big prizes: 06-11-12-16-29. He bought one of his winning tickets at the Sheridan EZ Mart, located at 130 South Main Street in Sheridan, and the other at the Mobil gas station, located at 319 West Main Street in Stanton.


“I have been playing Fantasy 5 for a long time and I always play the same sets of numbers,” said the player. “I was at the gas station, and I couldn’t remember if I’d purchased a ticket for the Fantasy 5 drawing that night, so I decided to purchase one to be safe.


“After the drawing, I was on the Michigan Lottery website checking the numbers and when I saw the two locations where winning tickets were sold, I knew I had to be the big winner. I checked my tickets and confirmed I had won, but I thought I’d won $55,000 on each. When I called the Lottery and they confirmed both tickets were $110,000 winners, a feeling of relief came over me.”


The 67-year-old player recently visited Lottery headquarters to claim the big prizes. With his winnings, he plans to complete home renovations and share with his family.


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