BigRapidsDailyNews : Breaking News

Overdose deaths in Michigan have almost tripled in five years, and Spectrum Health Big Rapids and Reed City Hospitals are helping to stem the tide.

 

Community members are invited to stop by on Saturday to dispose of expired prescriptions and other unwanted or unneeded medications.

 

This free and anonymous public service is part of the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

 

The local event is led by Spectrum Health and Ten 16 Recovery Network. Collections sites will be open Saturday, April 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital and at Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital.

 

In addition to unwanted prescription medication, needles/sharps will be collected, and full needle containers can be exchanged for empty containers while supplies last.

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District Health Department #10 has received an abundant supply of Personal Protective Equipment from the state health department.

 

The PPE will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis in the following counties: Crawford, Kalkaska, Lake, Manistee, Mason, Mecosta, Missaukee, Newaygo, Oceana and Wexford.

 

Anyone interested in receiving a free face mask or face shield should go to any DHD#10 office during business hours.

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A man and woman from Evart are behind bars after a breaking and entering and taking police on a multi county chase.

 

According to Mecosta County Sheriff Brian Miller, deputies were helping Newaygo County police locate suspects who were involved in a reported breaking and entering on Baseline, when the suspect vehicle was located by a Mecosta County Sheriff's deputy.

 

During a traffic stop on Mecosta County's 7 Mile Rd, the suspect fled police. 

 

The pursuit continued down Northland Drive through Mecosta, Montcalm and into Kent County. 

 

The driver, a 36 year old man and his passenger, a 40 year old woman both from Evart, were apprehended a short time later after they had abandoned the vehicle in the Sand Lake area and had fled on foot into a wooded area.

 

The two are currently being held at the Mecosta County Jail, awaiting arraignment on charges.

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A Reed City man will be spending at least three years in prison for his involvement with child pornography and drugs.

 

39-year old Adam Christian Wernette was sentenced Wednesday in Osceola County's 49th Circuit Court to between three years to 25 years in prison for guilty pleas to two counts of aggravated child sexually abusive activity, using a computer to commit a crime and three years to 10 years in prison for a guilty plea to aggravated possession of child sexually abusive activity and between 8.5 months and seven years for a guilty plea to distributing or promoting child sexually abusive material.

 

Wernette pleaded guilty to the charges back in February for his connection with an incident on June 30, 2014, in Richmond Township.

 

According to the Attorney General's Office, a tip was provided to authorities which led to the execution of a search warrant, and allowed police to discover more than 100 images and videos of child sexually abusive material on Wernette’s computers and cell phone. It also led authorities to the discovery of drugs that were illegally in Wernette’s possession.

 

During his sentencing, Wernette was also given jail time of between 8.5 months and four years for a guilty plea to larceny in a building and 5.5 months to two years in prison for guilty pleas to possession of morphine, possession of Oxycontin and maintaining a drug house.

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As COVID cases spike, Michigan is doubling down on promising therapeutic treatments and on preventative measures that work: Wearing a mask, washing hands and maintaining social distance.

 

Although the governor did not introduce any new restrictions, Michigan has five times the number of coronavirus cases it had in February, and an 18% positivity rate.

 

Since January, 291 clusters have been identified as connected to school sports alone.

 

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said infusion treatments including the monoclonal treatments Regeneron and Eli Lilly are "another tool in our tool box" that the state plans to emphasize.

 

So far, 6,600 Michiganders have gotten the treatment. The state also pledged to increase the number of infusion sites around the state.

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Michigan's extended benefits for those who are unemployed will be ending soon.

 

Due to the state's lower unemployment rate, the U.S. Department of Labor notified the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency the Extended Benefits program will no longer be payable after Saturday, April 17th.

 

Extended benefits are available when the state's total unemployment rate averages 6.5% or higher for three consecutive months.

 

Michigan has paid approximately $419 million in Extended Benefits since high unemployment rates triggered the Extended Benefits program.

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Deputies from the Mecosta County Sheriff's Office are investigating a larceny of vehicle parts complaint at the Big Rapids Menards store.

 

Security footage shows the suspect arrived in the same type of vehicle that he took the hubs from. The suspect stole the hubcaps from the victim's vehicle as he was leaving the store.

 

 

The Mecosta County Sheriff's office is asking for assistance to identify the suspect. 

 

If anyone recognizes the suspect, please call the Mecosta County Sheriff's office at 231-592-0150.

 

 

 

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A federal education decision is now forcing many Michigan school districts to scramble.

 

That’s because the fed’s have denied Michigan’s request to cancel state assessments this school year.

 

State Superintendent Michael Rice says their decision not to waive MSTEP testing during the pandemic shows the fed’s disconnect with conditions in public schools in Michigan.

 

Rice wanted the M-STEP tests to be canceled because the pandemic has disrupted learning with many students learning exclusively online for most of the school year.

 

He says it causes several districts to figure out logistics for giving the exams while COVID-related buildings remain closed.

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Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is warning people to be careful as scammers are targeting Michiganders who have received their COVID-19 vaccine with fake surveys offering a reward in exchange for personal information.

 

According to Nessel, the fake surveys ask victims to pay for shipping and handling in order to receive a prize that is never delivered.

 

The Federal Trade Commission states that no post-vaccine surveys are being conducted by Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson.

 

Any emails or text messages that claim to be sent on behalf of these companies seeking personal financial information are illegitimate and fraudulent.

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Fun was had by all during the 2021 Big Rapids Elks Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday at the Mecosta County Fair Grounds

 

Around 600 children and their parents took part to hunt down 12,000 eggs and prizes provided by the host Big Rapids Elks. 

 

Y102's Etch emceed and provided music 19 Mile Veterinary Hospital, Cranhill Ranch and sponsor Big Rapids Dental Health Care offered information and giveaways, Betten Baker Big Rapids had vehicles on display.

 

Others supporting this event:  Big Rapids Tire, Gone CleanUp & Removal Service, Chuck & Meredy's Auto Repair, Sara Esiline Farmer's Insurance

 

Additional prizes  donated by:   Bernie's Place, Patterson's Flowers, Bader & Sons, Biggby Coffee, Y102

 

 

 

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There has been a great deal of controversy surrounding election laws and security since the election in November. In the days, weeks and months following the 2020 election, I heard from many who wished to voice their concerns and distrust about how the election was conducted and an overwhelming number of voters I talk to have lost trust in our state’s election process. Many of these concerns were echoed across the country.

 

Our system of government allows us to have a say in the creation of the laws we live our

everyday lives by. An elected voice in government and the ability to choose our leaders are what make our form of government special and the ability to confidently accept the results, whether we like them or not, is what makes the system work.

 

I believe everyone can agree that we need to have confidence in our elections. Election laws like security measures, identification requirements, and similar standards are what protect your fundamental right to vote. I believe we need to reexamine election laws and processes to make meaningful reforms that work to restore the public’s faith in elections.

Last week, my colleagues and I took this step and formally introduced a legislative package

aimed at strengthening and improving election integrity in Michigan.

 

Over 30 bills were introduced as part of the election integrity package that covers a wide variety of issues dealing with processes before, during and after an election.

The bills include numerous reforms, including improving security at ballot drop boxes,

strengthening poll challenger and poll watcher rights, cleaning up outdated voter lists, and

requiring photo identification for in-person voting and when submitting an absentee voter ballot application. The reforms also would prohibit the mass mailing of absentee ballot applications and increase transparency in the audit process by ensuring audits are bipartisan and open to the public.

 

I sponsored two bills in the package. Senate Bill 288 would make audits bipartisan and open to the public. The bill gives each major political party the right to appoint an election inspector to oversee audits. This legislation would also allow each political party to appoint two observers to monitor the audit process, and the secretary of state would be required to stream video of the audit live on their website.

 

SB 309 would strengthen the rights of poll challengers and poll watchers. Under the bill, poll challengers would be given the right to sit behind the processing table and observe the election process from a reasonable distance. A poll challenger would also have the right to challenge a ballot if an elector is not listed in the poll book or is claiming the identity of another individual, or if the photo identification being used appears fraudulent or invalid.

 

My office has also created a website to give constituents an opportunity to provide feedback on the newly introduced election integrity package. To view a full summary of the election integrity package, and to provide feedback directly to my staff and me, visit

www.SenatorJonBumstead.com/election.reform/.

 

As elected officials, I believe it is critical we listen to input from the people that elected us to represent them in state government. The election integrity package is a top priority for many of our residents, and I am open to hearing suggestions on the best way to strengthen and improve election integrity in Michigan.

 

Voting is the foundation of our system of government, and it is my hope that this legislation helps our residents regain confidence that their elections are being conducted honestly.

 

Sen. Jon Bumstead, R-Newaygo, represents the 34th state Senate District, which includes

Muskegon, Newaygo and Oceana counties.

 

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As a result of significantly increasing numbers of patients admitted with COVID-19 and the increase in community positivity rate, Spectrum Health is revising its visitor policies to reduce the number of people in its Grand Rapids and regional hospitals and outpatient care sites.


Effective Wednesday, March 31, adult patients are allowed one adult family member or guest per patient. This must be the same person for the patient’s entire hospital stay. The following exceptions will apply:

 

Labor and delivery obstetrics patients are allowed two adult visitors. These must be the same two people for the patient’s entire hospital stay.


Patients with COVID-19 are not allowed in-person visitors, however the care team will work with patients and families to coordinate virtual visits.
 

Emergency department patients are limited to one adult guest per patient.
 

Adult radiology and laboratory patients at the hospital or outpatient care sites are not
allowed guests except for those patients here for an obstetric ultrasound or those who
need assistance with activities of daily living or have cognitive impairments. These
individuals will be allowed one adult guest.


Adult patients at Spectrum Health physician offices and surgery centers are allowed one
adult family member or guest for surgical sedated procedures, but no visitors unless the
patient needs physical or cognitive support. Patients may contact office staff for
extenuating circumstances.


Pediatric patients under the age of 21 are allowed two adult family members (parent or
guardian or their designee only) per patient stay.

 

For pediatric outpatient services, physician offices and surgery, pediatric patients are
allowed one family member or guests per patient visit.

 

Pediatric radiology patients are allowed one adult family member per patient.

 

Pediatric hematology and oncology clinic and infusion center patients are allowed one
adult family member per patient.

 

The new restrictions apply to the following Spectrum Health hospitals and nearby physician
offices and ambulatory care sites:
Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital
Spectrum Health Blodgett Hospital
Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital
Spectrum Health Fred and Lena Meijer Heart Center
Spectrum Health Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion

Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital
Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial
Spectrum Health Kelsey Hospital
Spectrum Health Pennock
Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital
Spectrum Health United Hospital
Spectrum Health Zeeland Community Hospital
Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital


In addition, in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus, all visitors will be screened and are required to wear a mask that covers their mouth and nose to enter the hospitals and outpatient facilities. Spectrum Health dining rooms continue to be closed to visitors. Hospital food service will be available in the cafeteria through to-go orders. 

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As a result of significantly increasing numbers of patients admitted with COVID-19 and the increase in community positivity rate, Spectrum Health is revising its visitor policies to reduce the number of people in its Grand Rapids and regional hospitals and outpatient care sites.


Effective Wednesday, March 31, adult patients are allowed one adult family member or guest per patient. This must be the same person for the patient’s entire hospital stay. The following exceptions will apply:


Labor and delivery obstetrics patients are allowed two adult visitors. These must be the
same two people for the patient’s entire hospital stay.


Patients with COVID-19 are not allowed in-person visitors, however the care team will
work with patients and families to coordinate virtual visits.


Emergency department patients are limited to one adult guest per patient.


 Adult radiology and laboratory patients at the hospital or outpatient care sites are not
allowed guests except for those patients here for an obstetric ultrasound or those who
need assistance with activities of daily living or have cognitive impairments. These
individuals will be allowed one adult guest.


 Adult patients at Spectrum Health physician offices and surgery centers are allowed one
adult family member or guest for surgical sedated procedures, but no visitors unless the
patient needs physical or cognitive support. Patients may contact office staff for
extenuating circumstances.


 Pediatric patients under the age of 21 are allowed two adult family members (parent or
guardian or their designee only) per patient stay.


 For pediatric outpatient services, physician offices and surgery, pediatric patients are
allowed one family member or guests per patient visit.


Pediatric radiology patients are allowed one adult family member per patient.

 

Pediatric hematology and oncology clinic and infusion center patients are allowed one

adult family member per patient.


The new restrictions apply to the following Spectrum Health hospitals and nearby physician
offices and ambulatory care sites:
Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital
Spectrum Health Blodgett Hospital
Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital
Spectrum Health Fred and Lena Meijer Heart Center
Spectrum Health Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion

Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital
Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial
Spectrum Health Kelsey Hospital
Spectrum Health Pennock
Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital
Spectrum Health United Hospital
Spectrum Health Zeeland Community Hospital
Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital


In addition, in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus, all visitors will be screened and are required to wear a mask that covers their mouth and nose to enter the hospitals and outpatient facilities. Spectrum Health dining rooms continue to be closed to visitors. Hospital food service will be available in the cafeteria through to-go orders. 

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The Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a Stolen Auto complaint in Green Twp in the 22000 Block of 205th Avenue. 

 

A resident woke up Tuesday morning 3/23/21 to find his 2008 Chevrolet HHR stolen which was later recovered in Newaygo County. 

 

The complainant woke up Wednesday morning 3/24/21 to find his 2010 Red Ford F450 Superduty pickup stolen. 

 

The owner left the keys in the HHR and unknowingly left the keys in the pickup.

 

If anyone has information on the back to back vehicle thefts, or have seen the Ford Pickup, they are asked to contact the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office.

 

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The Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office and the Big Rapids Police Department announce a new program for youth this summer.

 

The Mecosta County Youth Academy is a one week program open to boys and girls, ages 12-14 from July 19-23.

 

During the academy, 15 students will be introduced to the roles and responsibilities of first responders in the area. Topics will include Teamwork, Leadership, Physical Fitness, Defensive Tactics and Firearms safety.

 

Students will learn from instructors from the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office, the Big Rapids Police Department, the Michigan State Police, Ferris State University Department of Public Safety, and the Big Rapids City Fire Department.

 

Space is limited is limited so act fast.

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District Health Department #10 (DHD#10) announces that all currently eligible priority groups can now schedule directly online to receive your first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at www.dhd10.org/schedule. Those currently eligible include adults 50 , healthcare workers, frontline essential workers, and caregivers of individuals with special needs. You can schedule online even if you are currently on a waiting list. If you do not have access to a computer, call 888-217-3904 during regular business hours for scheduling assistance. 

 

Starting Monday, March 22, anyone age 16 and older will also be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine from DHD#10; however, you must be 18 or older to schedule yourself online. You do not have to have a medical condition to be eligible. Individuals aged 16 and 17 must be scheduled by a parent or legal guardian and can only receive the Pfizer vaccine. If you are a parent or legal guardian of a 16- or 17-year-old and you want them to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, please enter their information on the 16-17 waitlist at www.dhd10.org/covid-19-vaccine beginning Monday. One of our schedulers will contact you directly to schedule. Please do not schedule 16- or 17-year-olds online. 

 

“Vaccine supply is improving so we decided to open up the eligibility to anyone 16 and over starting Monday”, stated Kevin Hughes, Health Officer for DHD#10. “We will add clinic dates each week, so if there are no dates available when you go to schedule online, keep checking back for more dates to open up and try and schedule again.”  

 

DHD#10 reminds everyone to please keep your appointment with us once you are scheduled because a vaccine is reserved specifically for you. If you cancel because you were able to get one somewhere else sooner, that causes issues with vaccine clinics. Also, when you schedule with DHD#10, your second dose is automatically reserved and you will be scheduled for it at your first dose appointment. 

 

For questions, email us at covid@dhd10.org. For more COVID-19 vaccine information, visit us at www.dhd10.org/covid-19-vaccine. To stay informed, sign up for our Public Health Alert at www.dhd10.org/subscribe.  

 

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Four Juveniles were apprehended after a break-in at the Professional Dental Associates Office on Northern Avenue in Barryton. 

 

According to Detective Casey Nemeth of the Mecosta Co. Sheriff's Office the suspects broke in through a window and took small amount of petty cash and some dental supplies. 

 

Additional investigation led to identifying the four local juvenile suspects ages 8, 12, 12, and 14.  

 

All admitted to involvement in the incident and admitted to taking dental supplies and petty cash. The dental supplies were recovered in the suspects possession.

 

Deputies also responded to two separate locations near the Breaking and Entering where two of the juveniles had spray painted graffiti on a garage and the Frontier Building.

 

The report will be sent to the prosecutor for review for all four juveniles in probate court.

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A 17-year old Sears man is recovering following a rollover accident in Mecosta County Thursday.

 

It happened near the intersection of Arthur Rd/45th Ave in Sheridan Twp.

 

Deputies say the driver, a 17-year old man from Sears failed to negotiate a curve and overturned.

 

The driver was ejected from the vehicle and was transported to Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital for non-life threatening injuries.

 

Speed was a factor in the accident.

 

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People who still have to file their taxes will have extra time.

 

A U.S. House Committee says the traditional April 15th filing deadline will be pushed to May 17th.

 

Those involved with the decision say the extension will allow Americans some needed flexibility as they continue to navigate the coronavirus pandemic.

 

The extension also gives the IRS time to issue guidance on recent changes to tax law under the American Rescue Plan, which is the latest stimulus package.

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Ferris State University President David L. Eisler announced today he will retire as the University’s 18th president in June 2022, capping a 47-year career in higher education. He began his presidency at Ferris in 2003 and after the university’s founder, Woodbridge N. Ferris, is its longest serving president.

 

Under his leadership, Ferris has witnessed unparalleled growth and advancement over the last 18 years. Student retention and graduation rates have sharply increased, the latter by 65%. Fifteen major building projects totaling $400 million were begun during this period, including the former Federal Building in Grand Rapids, the Michigan College of Optometry building, the University Center, the newest residence hall on campus, North Hall, and most recently the Center for Virtual Learning. During this time, the university’s presence has dramatically increased across Michigan, providing access to a Ferris education through partnerships with 22 community colleges across the state.

 

To further support students and the university, Eisler has led increased philanthropic efforts, with The Ferris Foundation’s endowment growing from $18 million to $100 million. The university is in the final stages of its first-ever $115 million comprehensive campaign. In 2019 he and his wife, Patsy, established the Norris and Irene Johnson Scholarship Endowment to assist former foster care youth pursuing a bachelor’s degree at the university.

 

Eisler is an active community and educational leader, serving currently as chair for the Midwestern Higher Education Compact and on the boards of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the Grand Rapids Symphony, the Michigan Association of State Universities (MASU), Michigan Campus Compact (MCC), the Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA), Michigan Works! West Central, Talent 2025 and the Michigan United Way. He has also served as board chair for MASU, the MNA and the university’s two sports conferences, the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) and the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA).

 

In 2013 Eisler was the inaugural recipient of Grand Rapids Business Journal’s Newsmaker of the Year and in 2014 Ferris State University was the first university to receive the Uncommon Greatness Award from the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce. He is also a member of the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance Hall of Fame.

 

Amna P. Seibold, chair of the university’s Board of Trustees, said the university is a stronger, greater institution today because of Eisler’s hard work and dedication to Ferris. 

 

“President Eisler’s remarkable tenure has encapsulated many successes and challenges for higher education, and his vision and commitment to Ferris State University have been unwavering,” said Seibold. “My fellow board members and the university community appreciate his strong leadership and advocacy for higher education, and will join me in offering Dr. Eisler our deepest gratitude for his service to Ferris.”

 

In making the announcement to the university community, Eisler shared his appreciation of the opportunity to serve as president.

 

“Working at Ferris State University is a privilege, and it has been my honor to serve as president. This is a great university, with a unique and special mission, one that truly changes lives,” said Eisler. “When I speak with our alumni I often hear the phrase, ‘if it weren’t for Ferris...’ My experience at Ferris has been so much more than I could have ever imagined. While I may be retiring, I will always be a Bulldog.”

 

Seibold said a search for the university’s 19th president would begin in the coming months.

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