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BigRapidsDailyNews : Breaking News

Moolenaar: "One month later, Gotion must listen to the will of Mecosta County voters"

Today, Congressman John Moolenaar renewed his call for Gotion, a Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-affiliated battery company, to end its plans to build a factory in Mecosta County. On November 7, Green Charter Township residents voted to recall the entire Board of Trustees that signed the initial agreement with Gotion. Then, on December 3, the newly elected members of the Green Charter Township Board of Trustees voted to rescind the community's support for the project.

“One month ago, the residents of Green Charter Township made it clear they do not want Gotion in their community. Then this week, the Township Board rescinded its support as well. Sadly, but not surprisingly, a Chinese Communist Party-affiliated company has shown little interest in listening to the will of the people. I continue to believe Gotion should listen to the results of the election and the new Board of Trustees, and cancel its plans to build in Mecosta County,” said Moolenaar.

Moolenaar is a member of the House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the CCP. Last month, he urged Gotion to heed the results of the election and end its plans to build in Michigan.

#14 Ferris State earns first GLIAC victory with overtime triumph at Parkside

The nation's 14th-ranked Ferris State University Bulldogs pulled out a thrilling 77-73 overtime road win on Saturday (Dec. 9) in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) play at DeSimone Gymnasium.

Ferris State jumped in front by as many as eight points in the early going before settling on a 31-28 halftime lead.

FSU extended its lead early in the second frame and led by as many as 12 points with 6:20 to play before Parkside rallied back down the stretch and used some timely outside shooting to force the extra session. The Bulldogs had a potential game-winning basket with less than two seconds to play in regulation just rim away.

In overtime, the Bulldogs managed to outscore the Rangers 9-5 and came up with several key defensive stops en route to the win.

With the victory, Ferris State improved to 7-2 overall this year and earned a split on its league-opening road trip.

Junior Reece Hazelton dropped in a team-high 16 points for the Bulldogs in the win while Ben Davidson added 15 points. FSU also got 12 points from senior Dolapo Olayinka.

Overall, Ferris State shot 43.1% from the floor and made nine-of-23 (39.1%) three's to go with 12-of-14 (85.7%) free throws. The Bulldogs also won the rebounding battle 356-27 and came up with 10 steals in the triumph.

Parkside played four in double-figure scoring with Josiah Palmer totaling a game-high 19 points. Colin O'Rourke added 16 points with Ethan Ivan netting 13 points and Rokas Castillo 10 points. The Rangers converted 51.9% of their field goals and made 10-of-21 (47.6%) three's, but finished nine-of-14 (64.3%) at the free throw stripe and totaled 18 turnovers.

The Bulldogs will return to the court with a pair of regional games back at home inside Wink Arena prior to the holiday break. FSU will host Ashland on Sunday, Dec. 17, with tipoff set for 3 p.m. (ET) followed by a matchup versus Cedarville on Tuesday, Dec. 19, beginning at 5:30 p.m. (ET).

Three drivers injured after accident on Northland Drive near CK's place in Rogers Heights Saturday night

At approximately 5:30 P.M., deputies were dispatched to Northland Dr. and 11 Mile Rd. in Mecosta Township for a three-vehicle crash on Saturday, Dec. 9.

The investigation found that a 34-year-old female from Stanwood was travelling northbound on Northland Dr. and began to slowly turn left into CK's place. A 20-year-old female from Rockford, who was also traveling northbound on Northland Dr., saw the vehicle turning too late and attempted to avoid the vehicle by swerving into oncoming traffic. She then hit a 51-year-old male from Stanwood that was heading southbound as well as the vehicle which was turning in front of her. All three drivers were transported to Corewell Health BR for non-life threatening injuries. 

Deputies were assisted on scene by Mecosta Twp Fire and Rescue, Mecosta County EMS, MECD, and the Mecosta County Sheriff's Posse.

Two injured following utility vehicle accident in Morton TWP Friday night

On Friday at approximately 5:40 P.M, deputies were dispatched to Hayes Rd. near 85th Ave. in Morton TWP for a two-vehicle injury accident.

Investigation found that a 39-year-old female from Mecosta was driving a Bobcat down the roadway after dark with no lights on when a 28-year-old female from Mecosta didn't see the Bobcat and rear ended her. Both drivers were transported to Corewell health Big Rapids for injuries sustained in the accident. 

Deputies were assisted on scene by Morton TWP Fire and Rescue, Mecosta County EMS, and MECD.

New state program to back pro-housing policy changes by local governments

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) announced the new Housing Readiness Incentive Grant Program, with $5 million in funds to support cities, villages, and townships in adopting or eliminating rules and regulations to encourage building more housing and making housing more affordable.

"We are moving quickly to solve problems that our local and regional partners have identified, and this new program will put state funding directly into addressing local barriers to new and affordable housing solutions,” said Amy Hovey, MSHDA executive director. “In our regional listening sessions around the Statewide Housing Plan, we heard repeatedly about the importance of streamlining local rules to help build more housing, add density, rehabilitate existing stock, and across the board address affordability.”

Cities, villages and townships that apply for the program may receive a maximum grant of $50,000 to cover costs associated with adopting land use policies, master plan updates, zoning text amendments and similar activities that increase housing supply and affordability. The work may be performed by existing and/or contracted employees and/or third-party consultants.

“The Housing Readiness Incentive Program will align state investment directly with the local governments that need help most,” continued Hovey. “These problems didn’t crop up overnight, but we’re going to act decisively as we continue to identify new, innovative solutions to confront the housing crisis.”

Funds will be made available to cities, villages and townships depending on whether they have an Engaged, Essentials or Certified designation from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Redevelopment Ready Communities (RRC) program – an initiative for communities to develop best practices in planning, zoning and economic development with the goal of supporting community driven development.

Municipalities will be placed into one of two categories based on RRC designation status. Of the total $5 million allocated to the program, $3 million will be set aside for applicants that do not have an RRC designation. The remaining $2 million will be available to applicants that have a designation.

The online application portal will open Tuesday, January 16, 2024, and will remain open until funding has been fully committed. Applications will be reviewed by MSHDA and awarded as they are received.

For details and access to the application portal when live, visit the Housing Readiness Incentive Grant Program ( page on MSHDA’s website.

Ferris State set to graduate more than 400 as commencement ceremonies set for Friday, Dec. 15

Ferris State University will be awarding nearly 800 degrees and certificates with 465 students planning to participate in commencement ceremonies taking place on Friday, Dec. 15 at 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. in Jim Wink Arena of the Ewigleben Sports Complex in Big Rapids. 

Following the FSU Concert Choir’s National Anthem performance, President Bill Pink will greet commencement attendees, saluting Class of 2023 graduates, their families, and friends. 

This fall’s featured speaker is Joshua Pardon, Ferris State’s 2023 Distinguished Teacher Award recipient. A professor in the Television and Digital Media Production program in the College of Business, Pardon has received multiple Telly Awards and an Emmy nomination. He has received acclaim for his work on historical documentaries, including “The Factor” and the Emmy-nominated “The Poor Farm,” both airing on public access stations nationwide. 

The Wink Arena doors open at 8 a.m. for the 9 a.m. ceremonies, saluting College of Arts, Sciences and Education and College of Engineering Technology graduates. Following a break, the doors reopen at 11:30 a.m. for the 12:30 p.m. ceremony highlighting graduates of the colleges of Business and Health Professions. 

Near the close of the ceremonies, Dr. Emily Coles, president of The Ferris State University Alumni Association, officially welcomes graduates as the newest alumni. 

Each graduate receives six tickets for the Fall 2023 commencement and can use the online ticketing system to reserve tickets. The Commencement Office or the individual college commencement coordinators will distribute no extra e-tickets. Lost tickets will not be replaced. Guests without tickets can watch the ceremonies via live stream available on the Commencement Office website. Click for more information. 

Kendall College of Art and Design, Doctorate in Community College Leadership, Michigan College of Optometry and College of Pharmacy graduates are honored annually during spring ceremonies.

E-tickets are required to attend all Big Rapids commencement ceremonies. 

Visit the commencement website for more information.

MDHHS expands Medicaid coverage starting January 1 to include community health worker services

To help promote preventive care and address health disparities, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has expanded Medicaid coverage for Michigan beneficiaries to include community health worker (CHW) services. This new benefit goes into effect Jan. 1, 2024.

CHWs are trained public health professionals and trusted members of the community whose goal is to address social determinants of health and serve as links between residents and the health and social resources needed to improve well-being. CHW services focus on preventing disease, disability and other chronic health conditions or their progression, and promoting physical and mental health. The expanded Medicaid coverage includes health system navigation and resource coordination, health promotion and education and screening and assessment.

“This coverage is another step towards addressing health disparities, improving health outcomes and promoting preventive care within Michigan communities,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director. “By integrating community health workers, MDHHS is working to enhance the overall well-being of Medicaid beneficiaries and promote a more holistic approach to health care.”

The new CHW services coverage is complementary to existing Medicaid strategies that already incorporate CHWs, including targeted case management, health homes models and Medicaid Health Plan contract requirements.

To support the implementation of this policy, MDHHS selected Michigan Community Health Worker Alliance through a competitive bid process to facilitate provider qualification assessment, certification and the development of a registry of certified providers. This registry will ensure Medicaid beneficiaries have access to qualified CHWs to deliver covered services.

For more information, about CHW coverage or other Medicaid policies, visit 2023 Medicaid Policy Bulletins (

To sign up for Medicaid or to check available benefits, visit

Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University alumna Piper Adonya says Black Barbie documentary work is part of a career celebrating diversity

Artist Piper Adonya believes all people should be seen and heard.

“That’s why I love creating designs of people of color; everyone deserves to see themselves reflected in art,” said Adonya, a Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University alumna who worked on visual development for “Black Barbie: A Documentary.”

The new film tells the story of how the first Black Barbie came to be in 1980 and introduces viewers to the women who made her happen. It also examines the longtime shortsightedness of a toy industry that never imagined a Black Barbie selling.

That battle for representation strikes a deep chord with Adonya, who uses her own illustrations and designs to educate people about the importance of celebrating diversity.

“The sheer amount of time children spend with their dolls is enough to pause and reflect on what those toys look like … and how much the influence of having one that actually looks like you really means,” said Adonya, who graduated in 2018.

“It’s a story that really needed to be told and I’m just so honored to have worked on it. It’s both heartwarming and heartbreaking in some ways.”

“Black Barbie” premiered, to widespread acclaim, at this spring’s SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas. The film was recently acquired by Netflix and Shondaland, the entertainment company behind award-winning series including “Bridgerton” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” Netflix hasn’t announced a release date for it.

Adonya began her work on “Black Barbie” a year ago when she was recruited by 9B Collective, the first Black-owned concept art studio. She was asked to create the film’s title card illustration, along with other artwork needs. Already a full-time illustrator and graphic designer at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, the single mother of three worked evenings on the documentary at her Grand Rapids home.

It was the start of a banner year for Adonya. 

As the art director and lead designer for this year’s Fifth Third Bank Summer Concerts at Meijer Gardens campaign, Adonya had the honor of seeing her artwork featured on a Lexus SUV. 

In October, she took part in a panel discussion at the LightBox Expo in Pasadena about balancing kids, career, and personal time in the entertainment industry. The annual expo draws more than 10,000 visitors and showcases the artists who bring today’s films, animation, games, TV shows and illustrations to life.

And this month, she’s featured in ImagineFX, a digital art and fantasy art magazine featuring an eclectic mix of interviews, features, news and reviews with artists and illustrators. 

Adonya and her family moved from Texas to Grand Rapids when she was 8 years old. Even as a child, she loved art.

“I remember watching ‘The Little Mermaid’ for the first time and knowing immediately that one day I was going to draw; I fell in love with it,” she said. “I never had any desire to be anything else. There was no Plan B. It was always art; that was always the only plan.”

After graduating from Union High School, Adonya earned an associate degree at Grand Rapids Community College, got married and had children. A career in art took a backseat until 2014 when she enrolled at KCAD.

“I was working as an administrative assistant at an investment firm, and I knew I couldn’t look at one more Excel spreadsheet,” Adonya said. “Something had to change.”

“She graduated from KCAD with honors with a bachelor of fine arts in digital art and design degree, making work that enabled her to explore connections between her creative skills and her study of culture.”

Adonya said her Kendall professors always went out of their way to support and encourage her.

“They would push me in a good way to do better,” she said. “They saw what was in me, they believed in me, and that was priceless.”

Adonya said she’s excited for what the future holds, saying whatever she works on will include illustrations advancing diversity and amplifying the voices of people of color.

“I’m as passionate about diversity and people seeing themselves as I am about art,” she said. “No matter what I’m working on, it always weaves itself into my work.”

And she’ll be waiting for “Black Barbie” when it debuts next year on Netflix.

“It’s surreal and an honor being a part of such as an amazing story,” she said. “I can’t wait.”

Joe Takes: Lions bounce back with big start; hold on to beat Saints

Word of advice to anyone who goes out for Sunday lunch with family and they try to have a
conversation with you while the Detroit Lions are on the TV, just don’t go. I’m joking of course,
but there were many times where I just straight up wasn’t paying attention to anything other than
the game. And who could blame me, 21 points in the first quarter made for a wild game.

The Lions moved to 9-3 on the season to another late game thriller, beating the New Orleans
Saints 33-28. I am deeply concerned about Dan Campbell, not because of the inconsistencies
from both sides of the ball these past few games, but because of his neck veins that look like they
are about to rupture every time the camera pans to him. The Lions battled their way to the W,
and with a loss from the Philadelphia Eagles to the San Francisco 49ers, the NFC is getting more
shaken up by the day.

It looked like it could be a record setting day from the boys in blue, when David Montgomery
got the scoring started on the first drive with a 2-yard scamper to the corner of the endzone.
Thanks to a combination of Saints QB Derek Carr being trash, his receivers being even worse,
and Lions corner Brian Branch being the absolute dawg that he is, we got the ball back with
Branch’s interception. Three plays later, Jared Goff connected with Sam LaPorta for a 13-yard
TD. Next drive, AMon-Ra St. Brown took a ten yard checkdown pass an additional 20 to the
promised land and the Lions had 21 points with seven minutes left in the first quarter, unreal.

In the second quarter, Jimmy Graham got the Saints’ first score with a receiving touchdown.
That touchdown seemed to just reset the defense for the Lions and made them forget how to play
football, again. Riley Patterson nailed a kick through the uprights to put three on the board in
Detroit’s favor, closing the first half at 24-7.

Third quarter was all Saints, Alvin Kamara got chippy with Kerby Joseph after his touchdown
run. Taysom Hill put Saints on his back for the following drive in the redzone when he bulldozed
his way for a one yard rushing score. New Orleans was flirting with a score again, but myself
and every other Lions fan thanked their lucky stars when a muffed transfer caused a fumble
recovered by Detroit to send us to the fourth quarter.

In classic Ben Johnson fashion, Detroit does a double reverse trick play to get the ball in
Jameson Williams’ hands and he delivers with a massive high flying 19 yard touchdown run to
lengthen the lead. Jamo is so fast that when people see him run they’re like, “Man, that guy is
fast.” Time ticked away, but the Saints scored once again with Kamara on the one yard line.

The Lions closed it out with a big defensive stop, as well as the most athletic play from Jared
Goff that I have ever seen on 3rd and 9. Once again, I almost had a heart attack, but a win is a

This game taught us one thing, no lead is safe with how inconsistent our defense has been.
We’re for sure not a team that I’m confident in going into playoffs, and to be honest, I’m not
confident in our abilities to win both games against the Minnesota Vikings. We finally did
something when getting more personnel with Bruce Irvin, who is a veteran presence and got a
sack this game, but another pass rusher is what we need.

An additional question that I had during this game too is, how stable is Jared GOff if we want to
be a Super Bowl contender? The guy can’t scramble, he falls down when the pocket collapses,
and I’m not confident if we get matched up against the 49ers or the Eagles, even in week 17
against the Dallas Cowboys I’m worried. Out third string QB Hendon Hooker is back from his
injury, and during his time with Tennessee in college he was in the Heisman contention before
his torn achilles.

I think that teams are starting to figure out Aidan HUtchinson as well. He’s in a slump, which
happens with a lot of guys in the NFL, but you can only do so many spin moves at the line before
the Quarterback gets the ball off. Not only that, but when you watch him next week look at the
way he runs, it’s like a guy trying to run in waist deep water.

My last thought about this game is to get Jameson Williams the ball more. He’s been producing
big plays in the last five games, and he has a touchdown in the last two. Utilize the speed that he
has a little more, and with the rushing touchdown he picked up, I think you can Ben Johnson get
a little more versatile in the playbook.

Our third division game is next week against the Chicago Bears in the windy city. I’m really
hoping that we can win this one handily to let me have some bode of confidence with the
toughest part of the conference coming up. But if not, I guess my constant state of stress is my
new life now, which is great.

The keys to a win are simple. All they have to do is keep Justin Fields contained in the pocket,
minimize Montez Sweat’s effect on the defense, keep an eye on Cole Kmet, and just clean up
basically everything that went wrong this week, which was everything. Seems easy enough,

You know what they say, a sloppy win is better than a clean loss, and I’ll be happy as long we
put W’s in the column. Hopefully we get back on the winning streak, do the right things, and
keep us Lions fans happy. Continue sipping the blue Kool-aid, it tastes so good everytime.


Lions head to Chicago to take on the Bears this Sunday at 1:00pm. All Detroit Lion football games air on WBRN 1460am, 107.7fm, & 96.5fm.

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Kent County Sheriff's Office Investigating double fatal Crash in Lowell TWP

At 5:15 PM Wednesday, the Kent County Sheriff's Office and Lowell Fire responded to a head-on crash at the intersection of Alden Nash Ave. & Emery Dr. When responders arrived, they located the driver of a white Chevrolet Equinox deceased. Life-saving efforts were attempted on the front seat passenger, but they were pronounced deceased at the scene as well. 

An adult in the rear seat of the Equinox was airlifted by Aeromed to a hospital in critical condition. Two more children were also in the backseat and were taken to the hospital with serious injuries. The driver of a black Buick Encore was transported to the hospital with serious injuries.  

It appears the Chevy Equinox was traveling southbound on Alden Nash and for an unknown reason crossed the centerline, striking the Buick. The Kent County Sheriff's Office Traffic Safety Unit is working to determine if impaired driving was a contributing factor.  

The deceased driver was a 42-year-old female from the City of Belding. Her two children are an 11-year-old and a 4-year-old boy in the rear seats. The deceased front seat passenger was a 39-year-old female from Lowell Township. The rear-seat passenger who was airlifted is a 36-year-old from Lowell Township. The Buick was driven by a 20-year-old female from Greenville.

Ferris State partners with West Shore Community College to boost access to nursing programs

Ferris State University is partnering with West Shore Community College to create a pathway for students to earn both an associate and a bachelor’s degree in nursing and help fill a growing need for people with nursing skills.

Ferris State President Bill Pink and WSCC President Scott Ward signed an agreement this week to use a state grant to expand a partnership and allow WSCC students to work toward a Ferris State degree while remaining on the WSCC campus with costs covered. 

Pink said the program is an example of Ferris State collaborating with community college partners to help residents gain highly needed skills and grow a talented workforce, especially where there are shortages.

“I believe Ferris State is the strongest four-year university partner to Michigan community colleges,” Pink said. “We have long had a connection with West Shore, and together we can address the huge need for nursing statewide.”

The demand for nurses is increasing across the country. The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that nursing jobs are expected to grow 6 percent from 2022 to 2032, faster than the average for all occupations. About 193,100 openings for registered nurses are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Michigan has about 100,000 nursing jobs, with 6,345 openings, according to the Michigan Center for Data and Analytics in the state Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

The partnership is tapping a $56 million state program to expand nursing education opportunities. The program is administered by the state Department of Labor and Economic Development and was included in the state’s 2023 budget, which went into effect this fall. Community colleges are encouraged to partner with a four-year college or university and design a Bachelor of Science in Nursing completion program with input from local employers and local workforce development agencies.

West Shore and Ferris State have long been partners, including collaborating through the Ferris Connections Program. That allows West Shore students who plan to transfer to Ferris State to have access to university support programs while still at WSCC, which is based in Scottville, just east of Ludington.

Ward said WSCC is excited to partner with Ferris State and create opportunities for students to succeed.

“Ferris is one of those unique institutions, rare institutions, that offers associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees and doctoral degrees and has concentrations on occupational programs,” Ward said after signing the agreement.

Ward said students can earn a bachelor’s degree and quickly enter the workplace, addressing local and national shortages.

“It is the best of both worlds,” he said. “We could not find a better partner.”

BREAKING: Mecosta County Sheriff's Office arrests four following high-speed chase early Thursday morning

On Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023, at approximately 9:51 A.M., deputies from the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office attempted to make a traffic stop on a suspicious vehicle which led to a chase pursuit through four different townships and eventual arrests.

The Sheriff’s Office had received information of a possible stolen pickup that had possibly been repainted to conceal it. Deputies located the vehicle at a residence in Morton TWP and started to conduct surveillance, in which they observed the vehicle pulling out of the residence. Deputies were stationed to intercept the vehicle as suspected stolen pickup passed by an unmarked Sheriff’s Office vehicle conducting surveillance and the driver was identified as being wanted. Deputies then, utilizing marked patrol vehicles, pulled behind the suspected stolen pickup that was now pulling a small utility trailer. The suspect accelerated and fled at a high rate of speed when deputies activated their emergency lights and siren.

Deputies notified Meceola Central Dispatch of the pursuit and they in turn made notification to the
surrounding counties. The suspect fled with a passenger in the vehicle, who was not identified, driving at speeds reaching 110 miles per hour. The pursuit went through Morton, Martiny, Sheridan, and Wheatland townships and the villages of Remus and Mecosta. The Sheriff’s Office attempted to deploy "stop sticks" on two different occasions but the suspect drove through the ditch to avoid the device. The suspect then drove through a fence onto a small airport property, driving onto the grass runway. Deputies then were able to PIT the fleeing truck to end the pursuit.

Once the pickup was disabled, the driver and passenger both fled on foot from the scene. Deputies gave chase on foot and were able to catch and take both suspects into custody without further incident. Both were found to be wanted and were in possession of methamphetamine.

Deputies conducted follow-up searches at the scene of the foot pursuit and recovered a stolen, altered handgun that was loaded at the time and property, ammunition, and burglary tools in the pickup that was confirmed stolen. Deputies then followed up at the residence where the suspects left and were able to locate a stolen SUV, passenger car, motorcycle, and trailer. Deputies also located additional stolen property, both reported and unreported, from numerous thefts including two sawed off shotguns. There was also a female hiding in the residence, who was wanted, and was taken into custody without incident along with the wanted resident.

All the suspects were transported to the Mecosta County Jail where they were lodged on multiple felony charges. Their names and charges are being held pending arraignment in the 77th District Court.



December 7, 2023

On if he ever allows himself to marvel at the season that Lions TE Sam LaPorta is having: “I haven’t had a chance to watch it all in totality I guess, but we keep – I think I’ve said it a few times now, we keep trying to find out things that he can’t do and we’re still scratching our heads there, so. We like to line him up all over the place. He’s doing a phenomenal job picking up the details, the nuances of alignment splits, responsibilities and that’s what allowing us to push the envelope a little bit. But no, it’s really impressive for a rookie. Doesn’t matter what position, but particularly that one, even more challenging in a lot of ways between the run game and the pass game.”

On if it is a bigger challenge for a younger player like Lions TE Sam LaPorta to learn how to win one-on-one man coverage matchups at this level: “I don’t think so. What he showed on tape at Iowa was that he was going to be a dynamic route runner in this League. He certainly is a little bit more advanced in the run game than I thought. Those guys at Iowa do a phenomenal job coaching and so, that’s why it’s Tight End U right now. Those guys come out ready to roll. But yeah, he was able to win some man matchups last week and hopefully that continues for us. That alleviates the burden on our wideout group too. They were doubling (Lions WR Amon-Ra St. Brown) Saint at times and so we need somebody else to step up and win the one-on-ones. His number was called more often than not last week.”

On what the Bears defense does well: “They stop the run. They are extremely sound, their Head Coach (Matt Eberflus) is very detailed. You can tell that he stresses the fundamentals and he stresses play style. They are relentless, they pursue, they are very disciplined. And so, when you combine that with a sound scheme, it makes it very difficult to run the ball. He was a good run defense when he was in Indy and that’s really carried over now to Chicago. They’ve got some good talent all across the ball. Upfront they’ve got some guys playing better than maybe what – you might not have heard their names before, but these defensive tackles, they are stout at the point of attack. Obviously, they added another pass rusher in (Bears DL Montez) Sweat, but he’s a good run defender as well. Second level, (Bears LB Tremaine Edmunds) 49 shows up all over the tape and (Bears LB T.J. Edwards) 53, the guy they brought in from Philly is very instinctive. And then on the backend, it’s a bunch of young, hungry guys that just love playing football it looks like. So, it’s a challenge scheme-wise and then also with who they have and how they’re playing.”

On the challenge of having to run the ball more due to weather conditions against a strong run defense: “Yeah, I think the weather’s trending our direction a little bit, but I’m with you. It’s – the way we are built on offense is we can be productive any number of ways. And so, we’ll do whatever we need to do to put ourselves in a position to win this ball game. Our guys of course upfront, they take this as a challenge going against such a good group on defense that’s been so good against the run all year long. And so, I think they’re embracing this challenge with open arms. It’ll be a good opportunity. We’ve got a couple really good backs that help make us right and make guys miss, so it’ll be good for us.”

On if expects Lions WR Amon-Ra St. Brown to be motivated to be more involved this week after being double teamed in the New Orleans game: “Yeah, I think he’s been targeted quite a bit almost every game. Even last week, he was primary on quite a few things. We didn’t connect on a few that we really want back I think, but I’ve got no doubt that he’s going to come out and be the same productive player that he’s always been. They double him in certain situations and that’s when the other guys have to feast, but when (Lions TE) Sam LaPorta or I think (Lions WR) Kalif Raymond had a big game a couple weeks ago, when these other guys make plays, it makes defenses think twice about trying to take out number 14.”

On Lions RB Jahmyr Gibbs having a lower usage percentage against the Saints: “Probably within the moment, don’t equate it. At halftime, we get a feel for who’s touched the ball how many times, but within the circumstance of the game, it’s kind of just an ebb and a flow. And so, may or may not try to just dial it up to get it in someone’s hands, other times it might be, ‘Hey, I think they’re going to be in this defense and we want to attack them this way.’ So, it’s a balancing act right now and it’s a blessing and a curse to have this many talented skill players. I mean we’ve got a phenomenal tight end, we’ve got two really good running backs and we’ve got all five receivers that are up on gameday who really deserve to get the ball in their hands and get a chance to run with it. So, that’s where each week it’s, ‘Guys, somebody – you’re all going to have plays in and somebody’s probably going to be at the end of the game not as happy with not touching the ball enough.’ And we just try to cycle it around each week who’s got that. But we’ve got a lot of dynamic playmakers and that’s a challenge for us right now.”

On how much of his post-game process is understanding their own personnel usage to maintain a weekly balance: “Yeah, we’re very aware of who gets the ball, where they lineup, the self-scout tendencies in which situations we know what those things are and we try to usually use that against the defense.”

On Lions OL Colby Sorsdal’s development these last few weeks: “Oh, yeah, it’s really night and day. I think the first game he was in was maybe Atlanta that he had to get thrown in there if I remember correctly. And he really got thrown in at right tackle and it wasn’t his prettiest tape and I think he would admit as much, but to see where he’s grown from those early reps and playing interior both right side and left side. He continues to get better each week. Is it perfect? No, but for a rookie, this is learning on the fly a little bit. And he – as long as, as well as all of our other young guys, they just continue to get better with reps, and that’s what he needs.”

On if Lions OL Colby Sorsdal is more comfortable on the right side due to his collegiate experience: “We’ve been cross-training him all training camp and so far this season. I think if you probably looked at it, maybe he’s lined up on the right side a little bit more than the left side over the course of that time, but he’s getting a lot more comfortable on playing interior football. It really doesn’t matter which side he’s on.”

On how much he looks at the weather before a game and how much it affects his gameplan: “Yeah, that’s a great question. It certainly plays a big role. It plays a big role in (Lions Head) Coach (Dan) Campbell’s decisions of, ‘Hey, do we want to kick? Do we want to receive? Do we want to play with the wind? Do we not want to play –?’ All those things, but for me as a play-caller, certainly we look at wind, we look at precipitation, temperature, all that. Another variable that goes into the play-calls is, ‘What’s the sun? What’s the sun’s location?’ I’ve been a part of a number of times, we’ve thrown deep balls and it gets caught in the sun and it’s all for naught. It’s a perfect ball and the guys’ wide open and it drives – so, all those factors week in and week out always go into our thought process and how we want to call the game. Sometimes maybe you’ve got the wind behind your back one quarter and you know you’re not going to the next quarter, so you want to maybe be a little bit more aggressive and vice versa, things of that nature.”

On when the weather starts to impact the gameplan throughout the week: “Yeah, I mean it’s – the gameplan’s always in flux. And so, we never really put our finishing touches on it until really – we never do. There’s adjustments being made all the time in the game. In fact, I mean we put in a play right before – about an hour before kickoff that we ended up calling there in the last drive before halftime last week. But that’s just an example. We’re always tweaking things and our players, they don’t blink an eye. I mean they’re used to it at this point. We put a lot on them in training camp and so, it’s just par for the course.”

On if the play he added in last week an hour before the game was just an idea that popped into his head: “No, it’s just as you’re going through the plan you’re like, ‘Hey, maybe we’re a little bit light in this area. I think they’ll give us this coverage,’ and just want one more bullet in the chamber just in case the situation popped up.”

On if the play he added in an hour before kickoff last week hit: “It should’ve hit.”

On how to prepare for the unknown from an opponent coming off of a bye week: “I think when you look at a coach’s history, you look at – they have an identity in who they are, and you can trust those things. Listen, there’s wrinkles every game that we have to deal with. (Lions QB) Jared (Goff) has seen enough football in his eight years now that he knows, ‘OK, I haven’t seen this one before. They haven’t shown this before,’ and he knows how to react if they give us a different pressure or different coverage than what we’ve seen. So, that’s the luxury I have is, I’ve got a veteran quarterback and really, veteran offensive line that it doesn’t matter what gets thrown at us. We can adjust and still be productive.”



December 7, 2023

Opening Statement: “Good to get a win last week at a place that I was at for a long time. Still a lot of faces there that I know, had a chance to get a chance to talk to. Listen, that first half, man, it was the way that we play defense. Second half, we had some events that happen that we’ve got to get better at, which we will get better at. And our guys will continue to practice hard and work on those things. So again, I like where we’re at as far as the record, overall team. Obviously, there are some things we want to clean up on defense and we will continue to do those.”

On the need for making halftime adjustments to have a stronger third quarter performance: “I think that’s really funny that that’s always the buzz word of ‘adjustments.’ And I kind of laugh at it because it just shows that how people just don’t have a clue. I mean we’re winning. We’re doing a really good job and what are you changing?”

On how making adjustments can be a counter approach to the opponent making changes: “And you have to see if they’re going to adjust. And the thing is, they made plays and we didn’t make plays we should’ve made. When you have key plays in a game that’s caused some issues, to me that’s what you try to make sure you make those adjustments. And sometimes you make them on the sideline, sometimes you make them at halftime, but in a game, man, there’s always adjustments that are being made because every team is not just going to come out and do the things that they’ve shown on tape. They’re always going to have something new. So, our job as coaches is to make sure that whatever those new things they come out with, man, we’ll adjust to make sure we put our guys in positions to make those plays. And it happens all the time. So, we’ll continue to do that, but that’s the thing that’s an emphasis that we’ve been – offense and defense, we’ve been going over for a while now. Even in the offseason, we talk about those things, and man, we have to get better at that if we want to be the team we want to be. So, you’re right in that aspect, of making sure that man, we just come out the same way we come out in the first half with energy, effort and doing those things. And I think it’s more of that than anything else.”

On how frustrating allowing big plays has been and how to limit the number of them moving forward: “Well, big plays are always frustrating. The thing that I try to do is look at the big picture. We’re one of the top teams in the League as far as not giving up explosive plays. So, I always try to point back to that and what did we do before to not give those things up, and our guys understand that. And listen, this is a League of teams that are trying to make big plays because usually when you make big plays, obviously you’re going to get scores after that. So, that’s one thing that we try to make sure we focus on, and we look at the things that we’ve done before to make sure we limit those and we want to continue to try to do those things.”

On the urgency to limit the number of points allowed for the final stretch of the season: “Listen, there’s always an urgency in that regard. That’s the first thing that we talk about as a defense is we want to limit points. I think when you look at it in totality, you look at our overall defense, man, there’s really the same core that’s been here and you look at us last year at this time, man, we were not a good defense. I think we were ranked last in a lot of different categories. And you look at it now with really the same core, I mean these guys have improved and that’s the one thing I don’t think people really take a look at is, I mean (Lions DL Alim McNeill) Mac’s having his best year I would think. I do think (Lions DL Aidan Hutchinson) Hutch is having a good year. The thing is there’s been so much attention to him that he hasn’t had a chance to get the sacks that he’s wanting to get. Those things will come for him. You look at (Lions LB) Alex (Anzalone). I think Alex is having the best year of his career. So, this time last year when it comes to yards, when it comes to rush, when it comes to – I mean we were not good last year, but this year, man, things have changed. So, I think we’ve got to give credit to those guys and we don’t hear that enough. Listen, everybody wants to be the number one defense. Hell, I want to be the number one defense, but guys have to develop and the guys have developed. And look where they put themselves. And they’re going to continue to get better at that, even the guys like (Lions DL) Brodric (Martin) that we’re developing now. I mean those guys are going to come along and do well for us.”

On how to keep Lions DL Aidan Hutchinson from getting frustrated by his good performances not being reflective in the stats: “Well, the first thing you’re talking about is how he’s affecting the game, but the numbers might not be saying it, and he’s really doing that. The second thing is, man, understand how the top guys in this League – and I’m not talking about the guys that are playing now, but even the guys that played way before him, how have they handled a double team? I think the one thing that he had a chance to look at, he had a chance to look at (Steelers LB) T.J. Watt who’s an explosive player, and man, he’s always using his hands. And I think if you see the game against New Orleans man, he did a really good job of using his hands and guys man, hell he had three guys on him at one point and he still had a chance to get a hand on the quarterback. So, he’s still developing in that regard and that just goes to show just how much more of his game he has left. Again, I’m happy with where that player’s at. I mean obviously, he wants to get more sacks, we want him to get more sacks, but man, to understand exactly how you – what you’re doing is really affecting a lot of the things on defense.”

On the task of replacing Lions DL Alim McNeill’s production while he is out due to injury: “It’s always hard to replace a player of his stature and we all know that. The thing that we’ve got to do a really good job of is, man, keep developing the guys that we have in our program. And other guys have to step up too. I mean (Lions DL Josh) Paschal has to do a really good job. Sometimes he’s going to be inside and we’re going to need him to step up. (Lions DL) Brodric (Martin) has to continue to develop. (Lions DL Isaiah) Buggs has to continue to develop. Just a lot of these guys that we have in our program have got to take up that slack. And you’re right, it is next man up mentality. No one’s going to feel sorry for us. We’re not going to feel sorry for ourselves, and we’re going to continue to try to be the best defense we can each week.”

On Lions DL Brodric Martin’s progress and what he can provide to the team: “Man, just coming from where he did in college and understand exactly how he has to play in this League. The one thing I think that he had an issue with early is just being able to use his hands and understand how to use his hands. And man, I tell him in practice, he’s doing a really good job of that. I mean before practice, after practice, those are the things that Brodric is doing a really good job of to get himself on the field. And then other than that, man, I’m a big believer in D-linemen being able to have lateral agility and he’s working his butt off trying to work on those things too.”

On if Lions DLs Levi Onwuzurike and Josh Paschal have progressed back from their injuries as they had hoped: “Well, I mean it’s hard for Levi because he hasn’t had a chance to really just play for us. And listen, that injury was a significant injury, so it’s going to take him time. I mean obviously (Lions DL Alim McNeill) Mac, I think he’s having his best season. And Josh is the same thing. I mean he hasn’t had enough plays to really just like, ‘Man, where is he at?’ But, the thing is, you’re starting to see that with Josh. I talked about that last week with him. I mean in the New Orleans game, he had some really good plays. So, the development is coming with that player.”

On what veteran players like Lions DLs Bruce Irvin and Tyson Alualu can add to a young team: “Well, two 36-year-olds. That’s awesome though, man. Golly, to be playing at that age, especially two guys that have been in the fight like they’ve been in when you’re playing at that D-line position. Both of those guys can give just insight on what it takes to play at a high level. I mean I’ve known Tyson for a while as far as who he was as a player, that pick’s come from Cal. So, he has some belts on the wall and he can help our young guys as far as things that they need to do to create to be at that level. Same thing with Bruce. Bruce talked to some of the guys this week about playing at a championship level, so man, it’s good to just hear those guys’ voices, for them to bring what they understand this League is about. But man, I think it’s outstanding for guys 36-years-old still playing in this League, man.”

On if Lions DL Levi Onwuzurike has an opportunity to get more reps with Lions DL Alim McNeill out with an injury: “Listen, anytime he gets game reps, it’s always good for him. The thing is I mean we can’t play everybody. There’s only so many people we can bring on defense and if we could bring them all, I would, but we can’t. The thing is the guys that we’ve had have been playing pretty good. Again, we’re a top run defense in this League. So, we don’t want to just bring guys to just be bringing them. I mean guys have to earn their keep and I’ve said that several times. And when you have an injury, man, guys really have to step up and be a big part of what we’re doing. And this is going to be a week where he has to do that.”

On Lions DL Quinton Bohanna’s production the past three weeks: “Listen, that’s a big man. That’s a huge man. And the thing that he shows that’s pretty impressive is he has some first step quickness to him. Listen, he’s still a young player too. I mean I remember him and I know you guys do when he was in Dallas and he’s played a good amount of plays there, so he understands this game, but he’s still a young player and he still needs to develop. So, we have to be very careful on how we use these elevations to make sure that we can get the best guy for us. And we will do that, but I’m impressed with that player. I’m impressed with him and he’s doing a good job for us.”



December 7, 2023

On what Lions LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin has meant to special teams and how much he advocated to get him back on the team in the offseason: “Yeah, I mean, when he left, we thought he was a great player and disappointed to see him go or whatever, but that’s a part of the business. And then obviously, when we had a chance to get him back, it was incredible. He’s a great leader. His way of leading is a lot more by example, than being vocal. However, he has been vocal and that’s also helped the guys. And he’s done a little bit more of that this year. He’s obviously a captain for us, but great player. I mean, for him to go out and make the plays that he made in that game was obviously special. And the one thing that I said, I just talked to (Lions Head Coach) Dan (Campbell) about it, but the one thing that happens to these guys, when you’re a good player, you get a lot of attention. They put good players on you, sometimes they put two guys on you. If they don’t put two guys on you, they put their best guy on you. And so, for him to go out and do that against a good football team that has a bunch of good players on their side of the ball and a well-coached group who has a good plan, it obviously says a lot about him, individually.”

On how difficult it is for a player like Lions LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin to see time on both defense and special teams in the same game: “Yeah, it’s great. And I think – it’s just a great example of a guy who – I think sometimes there’s a human element to the whole game and how much you’re playing on defense and everybody wants to be a defensive player, an offensive player. I mean, when you’re a kid, you kind of dream of doing that, I think, for most of these guys. And obviously, special teams fits somewhere in there and I think sometimes when guys start playing more defense, they feel like, ‘Well, I’m playing more defense. I’ve kind of got a built-in excuse of why I might not have been as good on special teams,’ and he obviously took the opposite approach, which I think the great players do. I always say, ‘Competitors compete.’ And it doesn’t matter what you’re doing. If you’re playing a game of whatever, pig, or horse, or whatever – I mean, these guys – they’re going to go after it. If there’s a free shirt on the line, I mean, these guys will compete for it. It doesn’t matter how much money you make and the best players compete the most and it doesn’t really matter what you’re doing. And so for him to do that was awesome. It reminds me, really, I was watching some football. We were actually on the plane, on our way back and the 49ers were playing against the Eagles and I mean they had (49ers WR) Deebo Samuel back there returning kickoffs for these guys. And it’s like, the guy just went off in the game on offense, but he’s still playing on kickoff return. And I know that, that guy must’ve gone to those guys and said, ‘Hey, put me back there. I want to be back there. I can make a difference.’ It didn’t come from a coach saying, ‘Hey, will you please.’ So, anyway, yeah, for Germ, I mean competitors compete. He’s a competitor, he did a great job and it really speaks volumes and also, such a great example for playing on defense, or playing on offense and playing on special teams.”

On the most sensational competitor he has been around: “Yeah, I’ll stay away from answering in specifics, but I would say that I have been fortunate in my time doing this to see a bunch of really good ones. I mean, (former Eagles RB) Darren Sproles is a guy that comes to mind. That guy wanted to change the game. You could tell he was going to go change the game. He was going to put it on himself. It didn’t matter what anybody else did, how they blocked, how they played, he was going to make the play, no matter what. There are two guys running free? I’ll make both of them miss. There’s one guy running free? Great, got that. There’s three? No problem. We get great blocking? That’s even better. But we need it in a game and it’s at a moment where you need someone to step up big, he did it. He would be one of the better ones. But I have been fortunate to be around a bunch of great ones. And all of them have a different impact. His position’s a little bit easier to see the impact of it, whereas a core player, which is also a good thing about (Lions LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin) Germ, a guy’s just running and covering kicks and making tackles, you don’t tend to see quite as much. Most of those honors go to the kicker who makes four field goals and a game-winner in a game, or the returner who has a big return. But for it to be a core guy that’s making tackles, doesn’t happen very often.”

On if there are unique things teams throw at them on special teams when they face them multiple times in a season: “Yeah, it is a really good question because I think there is a balance between – yeah, the schematics and going against this team and what you’d like to do, but then most of it really comes back, at least for me, it really comes back to who are your players and what do they do well? What are you going to ask them to do? And so schematically, you’re more built around the players that you have, rather than, ‘I think this would be a great idea against these guys because they do X, Y and Z.’ It really comes down more with our players against these guys in this game and the players they have in this game, it makes more sense for us to do this, even though it would be fun to do that, but it’s probably not suited for our guys and putting them in the best spot. So, I think a lot of it comes down to individual matchups and players, but then the other element, which I’m sure you guys are going to ask me about, but the other element, like going into this game, it’s a big difference when you’re playing them indoors a couple weeks ago and then now we’re going to their place and we’re getting into December and we’re playing outside and there’ll be a little bit more wind and weather and that factors into the game also. And I think I’ve said before, that’s some good and some bad. If the wind’s blowing sideways one direction, you generally know which way they’re going to kick the ball. But, it’s still blowing sideways one direction, so.”

On if the weather and field conditions at Soldier Field make it a tough place to kick: “Yeah, I guess in the past, you heard a lot about the field, I don’t know. When I first got into the League, the grass was longer there and that was definitely noticeable and I think you heard a lot of chatter from players about that, or kickers maybe. That really hasn’t been like that for a long time, for me. So, the field’s fine. But yeah, there’s definitely always wind and weather there and the way the stadium’s shaped kind of – it lets some wind and weather in there. So yeah, I would say in general, it’s a little bit tougher place to kick, certainly tougher than indoors at Ford Field.”

On if Lions P Jack Fox was able to get into a rhythm and prevent a lull against the Saints because he had more opportunities to punt compared to previous games this season: “Yeah, and I would say very well said by you because what has happened, and it’s not only that we’ve only had like two punts in a game, but those two punts, sometimes they’re both in midfield. They’re totally different plays than when you’re punting backed-up. And this last game, all those punts really happened down on our end of the field, which hasn’t been standard for us. So there definitely has been some lulls and this is the first time when you really got to go out there and cover a bunch of balls and do all that, so yeah, I totally agree. But yeah, good to see Fox have a chance to let it rip and do what he does best.”

On if Lions P Jack Fox had a better performance against the Saints because he had more opportunities to punt the ball: “Yeah, I thought he was outstanding in the game. Great hangtime, great distance on the ball. It’s good operation time. So, I thought he played really well. He’s playing really good football right now for us. He’s in a really good spot. You can see he’s very confident the way he’s striking the ball too, and so it’s positive.”

On his assessment of Lions LB Trevor Nowaske against the Saints and what it is like as a coach to see an undrafted player make the team and see time on the field: “He was great. And the thing about him, I mean, I love talking about him because I feel like he’s been a great football player since training camp and has just done a great job, So, really, with him, we didn’t miss a beat at all. But yeah, I was excited to see him be able to get out there because a guy like him, he’s doing all this work in practice, he’s giving the looks to the other team every single week and all he wants is a chance to play and finally got a chance to play, I thought did a nice job for us.”

On if Lions LB Trevor Nowaske caught their eye during training camp: “Yeah, yeah, definitely. In training camp, right away, you could say, ‘Hey, man this guy’s got something to him.’ He’s big, he’s strong, he’s fast, he can really run. But, on top of that, he’s got some awareness for where the football is when he’s out there in coverage and he does a good job in the return game too, for a defensive player.”


The Lions head to Chicago looking to sweep the Bears on Sunday at 1:00pm.


Listen to every game on WBRN 1460am, 107.7fm, and 96.5fm.

Detroit Lion Football is brought to you by Michigan ADAS Calibrations and Glass: when your windshield needs replacing, the experts at Michigan ADAS not only replace the glass, they also recalibrate the cameras your car depends on to keep you safe.

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Gotion Inc. meets with Leprino Foods employees at job fair in Remus

Chuck Thelen of Gotion Inc. on Tuesday joined 17 other civically minded companies to meet with employees at Leprino Foods in Remus to discuss job opportunities including those that will be available at Gotion’s battery components facility in the Big Rapids area.

Last month, Leprino Foods was forced to make a difficult business decision and announced it would lay off many of its workers at the beginning of the new year. The layoffs will affect more than 110 local workers. Gotion Inc. will work to expedite training opportunities and hiring plans to help local residents heal from the crippling trend of people in the region affected by multiple layoffs since 2009.

“So many local families have been affected by layoffs in our region, and the recent Leprino Foods announcement hit my conscience especially hard with it being so close to my home,” said Thelen, vice president of Gotion Inc. – North American Manufacturing. “I was motivated to try and pull ahead 2024 hiring plans and talk with dozens of Leprino employees about the tremendous employment opportunities at Gotion Inc. These are great jobs with superior benefits, and I am positive we have the talent right here in Mecosta County to help fill these positions.”

In compliance with its development agreement with Green Charter Township, Gotion Inc. is first seeking to hire people from within a 25-mile radius of its planned facility.

Thelen met with residents at the Michigan Works West Central booth, which is helping facilitate the hiring process at Gotion Inc. When fully operational, the facility will employ more than 2,300 people.

Those seeking more information about available positions at Gotion Inc. can visit

Mecosta County Sheriff's Office: Weekday Blotter (11/27 - 12/3)

Monday, November 27

Calls for Service: 18

Car/Deer Accidents: 1


Tuesday, November 28

  • At 1829 hours, deputies made a warrant arrest at a residence in Aetna TWP. A male subject was arrested on a warrant out of Montcalm Co. He was turned over to Montcalm County.

  • At 2048 hours, deputies responded to an assault complaint at a residence in Aetna TWP. A female subject was arrested for assaulting another female.

??Calls for Service: 12

Car/Deer Accidents: 4


Wednesday, November 29

  • At around 0900 hours, deputies recovered some stolen merchandise from a residence in Sheridan TWP. The merchandise had been stolen from a business in Big Rapids on 11-22-23.

  • At around 2100 hours, deputies made a warrant arrest at a residence in Chippewa TWP. A male subject was arrested on 2 warrants. He was lodged at the Mecosta County Jail.

Calls for Service: 14

Car/Deer Accidents: 3?



Thursday, November 30

  • At around 1630 hours, deputies made a traffic stop on a vehicle in Morton TWP. The traffic stop resulted in the  female driver being arrested on warrants. She was lodged at the Mecosta County Jail.

  • At around 2023 hours, deputies made a warrant arrest at a residence in Aetna TWP. A male subject was arrested on a warrant. He was lodged at the Mecosta County Jail.

Calls for Service: 16

Car/Deer Accidents: 3

Traffic Accidents: 1



Friday, December 1

  • Nothing reported.

Saturday, December 2

  • Nothing reported.

Sunday, December 3

  • Nothing reported.

Big Rapids secures $150,000 grant from the State of Michigan for Swede Hill Skate Park

The City of Big Rapids is excited to announce it received a $150,000 grant from the state of Michigan through its Recreation Passport Program to develop a state-of-the-art skate park at Swede Hill. This generous grant underscores the commitment to fostering recreational opportunities for the community's youth and enhancing the overall quality of life in Big Rapids.

The funds will be dedicated to constructing the Swede Hill Skate Park, providing a dynamic space for skateboarders and enthusiasts of all skill levels. The project aims to create a vibrant hub tor recreational activities, promoting an active and healthy lifestyle among residents.

"'The City is beyond excited to receive this grant," said Michelle Stenger, Director of Big Rapids Community Development. "The community has worked extremely hard in making this project a reality and we wouldn't be able to do it without the support of the citizens and past employees of Big Rapids.

The total project cost with the added features is $240,950 with $150,000 from the Recreation Passport grant and $90,950 being the city's match. $2,000 in donations raised previously and a 525,000 top prize awarded from the "Consumers Energy Foundation's 2022 Put Your Town on the Map" pitch competition.

The Swede Hill Skate Park project aligns with the city's commitment to creating inclusive recreational opportunities. promoting physical activity, and fostering community.

Former Ferris State Football standout Chris Pulliams making a difference mentoring and educating in the Grand Rapids area where he grew up

Chris Pulliams never expected to return to Godwin Heights High School when he graduated, dreaming of playing college football.

“I had hopes of being an NCAA Division I athlete, specifically at the University of Oregon,” Pulliams said. “I decided to begin my studies at Grand Rapids Community College, with plans to transfer and move to Eugene with my father. There was a preferred walk-on offer at Oregon, but the situation did not develop, and I found myself out of college as the next year began.” 

Chris turned to his high school coach, Jake Kenyon, for direction. The veteran leader had good advice for Pulliams and, ultimately, the Bulldogs. 

“I fashioned a letter for Ferris’ coaches and the Western Michigan University football program, and both offered me preferred walk-on status,” Pulliams said. “I came to see that Ferris had the mix of campus life, education and athletics that would be perfect for me. I wound up making the great decision to become a Bulldog, and it is one I have never found fault with.” 

Pulliams was a redshirt in 1992 as Ferris made its first NCAA Division II postseason appearance and quickly went from contributing as a special teams player to joining the mix of running backs on an undefeated Bulldogs squad the next year. 

Just as a change of direction is critical in success carrying the football, Pulliams made an academic shift that changed his life and the lives of students at his high school alma mater for the better. 

“I started in the College of Business, not knowing exactly what I would do. But I believed strongly that it was a path to success for me,” Pulliams said. “As part of my football experience, I volunteered at a Big Rapids elementary school and it was as if my eyes were opened, everything about the experience felt so right. I immediately made the change in my academic and career direction.” 

Pulliams graduated from Ferris and its College of Education and Human Services in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Education, minoring in Language Arts. 

During his senior year, Chris was named the inaugural recipient of the Jack McAvoy Award, given annually to the football player who best exemplifies on-field character and leadership. The award began in the Midwest Intercollegiate Football Conference and continues as an honor in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

“The award was something that very much came my way at the moment, as we were focused on trying to win a national championship, which didn’t come our way,” Pulliams said. “It took a little time to realize what this accomplishment meant. That included researching Jack McAvoy and what he meant to Hillsdale College, the Great Lakes Conference and the MIFC. Those accomplishments and his philosophy drove home the significance of the honor, and I am proud of this, especially as the first recipient.” 

Pulliams had All-Conference recognition, NCAA playoff appearances in each of his varsity seasons, and his 97-yard game-winning run in the 1995 “Snow Bowl” against Saginaw Valley rivals recent national championship moments for the most iconic play in Bulldog football history. His 1,729 rushing yards as a junior remains a single-season Ferris record. 

That level of heart and commitment Pulliams gave to his on-field performance and studies has continued and serves as a reward for his hometown school district of Godwin Heights, in the Grand Rapids suburb of Wyoming.  

“It has been 26 years of trying to pay back in the same fashion all the effort and direction that Coach Kenyon had afforded me,” Chris said. “I want to see the students I work with in the classroom and on our teams able to define and achieve their goals in life.” 

Pulliams teaches English in Godwin Heights’ Alternative Education program, and before that, was a College Readiness instructor and taught Scholastic Aptitude Test Prep, beginning with seventh- and eighth-grade students. 

“It is once again leaning back on what Coach Kenyon gave me, helping students to graduate and achieve, because that is an important goal in our district,” Pulliams said. “It might sound easy, but the work is to get students to see themselves in the themes and materials, to help them pick up on and appreciate the writer’s message.” 

The contribution to Godwin Heights students continues even after classes are over. Pulliams staffs athletic events throughout the year and has been a coach in the Wolverines’ high school football program for approximately a decade and the track program for more than a dozen years. 

“It is a special relationship that develops when I work with athletes, one I just have not found to be possible in the classroom,” Pulliams said. “There are many friendships with these young people that have continued because of the time and effort we have shared. It is not about wins and losses; though we have enjoyed much success, it was due to the improvement they showed, from meet to meet and game to game. When they give themselves the chance to get to college due to their athletic success, that is so gratifying. Also, the lessons that help them achieve as competitors serving as a foundation to the way they conduct their lives can certainly be labeled a great success.” 

Pulliams has given and received as a Ferris State alumnus, with his service on the Alumni Board beginning in 2018, following his induction into the Ferris State University Bulldog Athletics Hall of Fame in 2017. More prominent in his mind is the reward from weekly worship and connection to Kentwood Community Church. 

“My wife and I became members 12 years ago when we sought to adopt our daughter,” Pulliams said. “It was the right decision then and we feel so welcome and happy as a family there. I mostly serve as an usher and I am open to whatever God is leading me to do, as I know all my accomplishments come from God, and I would not be who I am without his presence in my life.” 

Growing up a Godwin Heights Wolverine and returning for a career in his home district has been rewarding. Chris has been recognized in the media and is respected by neighboring districts.

Pulliams said as another academic calendar begins, he is looking at life at home and in the classroom in a slightly different light. 

“We have much to do as a family, as our daughter is entering her teens and high school days,” Pulliams said. “I work hard to keep my wife and daughter first, even with all my responsibilities as a teacher, coach, and mentor. My daughter’s interest in softball found us watching NCAA tournament games on TV together this spring, and she has kept tabs on the success of Grand Valley’s program. Even when I am watching Ferris’ closest rival, it has been a great joy to share that experience with her.” 

Though he is nearer to the close of his career as an educator than the beginning, considering 2023’s first day of classes found the veteran of the classroom and coaches’ corner brimming, bright-eyed, with a ready smile. 

“I am energized to keep on keeping on for the students,” Pulliams said. “I am so fortunate to have gained so many rewards from investing my time in Godwin Heights among so many great people.”

Michigan Lottery warning public to be aware of prize scams

The Michigan Lottery is warning the public to be aware of scam artists claiming to be lottery agents or prize winners.

The Michigan Lottery processes all prize claims for free, and players must have a valid winning ticket to claim a prize. If you haven’t bought a Lottery ticket or played a Lottery game, there’s no way you could win a prize.

To check if a lottery prize, offer, or promotion is legitimate, members of the public may contact the Lottery’s Player Relations Division at 844-887-6836, option 2, or via email at

Lottery prize scams surface from time-to-time and have been known to pop up around the holidays. The public should always remain vigilant.

Generally, there are two types of lottery prize scams:

  • A person gets a letter, email, text, or phone call to inform them that they’ve won a big lottery prize but must pay a fee to collect the prize. If the person agrees, the scam artist convinces them to mail a cashier’s check, make an electronic funds transfer, or even arranges a meeting to get the money in cash.
  • A person is contacted by mail, email, text, or phone call by someone claiming to be a lottery prize winner. The scam artist tells the person they will share their prize if the person sends money to them. If the person agrees, the scam artist convinces them to mail a cashier’s check, make an electronic funds transfer, or even arranges a meeting to get the money in cash.

In some cases, after getting money from the victim, the scam artist comes back asking for more for unexpected processing costs or fees or uses some other excuse to try to get more money from the victim.

Unfortunately, the more money the victim supplies, the longer the scam will continue.

If you believe you have been the victim of such a scam, please contact your local law enforcement agency.

Evart Police: Weekly Blotter (11/27 - 12/3)

Monday, November 27

  • Nothing reported.

Tuesday, November 28

  • Trespass – Officers were called to a business regarding a subject they wanted trespassed from the property.
  • Criminal Sexual Conduct – Officers received a referral from CPS regarding a possible criminal sexual conduct incident. The case remains open at this time.
  • Larceny – Officers received a larceny of a cell phone complaint. The case remains open at this time.
  • Breaking and Entering – Officers were dispatched to a possible breaking and entering complaint. Nobody was found on the property and there was no evidence that someone entered the residence.
  • Fraud – Offices were dispatched to a residence for a possible fraud complaint. The case remains open at this time.

Wednesday, November 29

  • Nothing reported.

Thursday, November 30

  • Property Damage Accident – Officers were dispatched to investigate a two vehicle property damage accident.

  • Mental – Officers were dispatched to a well-being check.  Officers spoke with the subject and they did not require any services.

Friday, December 1

  • Nothing reported.

Saturday, December 2

  • Nothing reported.

Sunday, December 3

  • Property Damage Accident – Officers were dispatched to investigate a two vehicle property damage accident.

  • Threats – Officers were dispatched to a threats complaint. While investigating the complaint a subject was found to have multiple warrants for their arrest. The subject was arrested on the warrants and lodged without incident. 

Reed City Police: Weekly Blotter (11/27 - 12/3)

Monday, November 27

  • An officer received reports of suspicious events happening at a residence including a decorative fence around a garden area being knocked down.
  • An officer received a report of an abandoned wheelchair. Prior to the officer’s arrival the owner picked it up.
  • An officer is investigating a case that was referred to by CPS. Following the initial investigation, a 25-year-old male has been arrested on an outstanding warrant for Child Abuse in the 2nd Degree. The investigation is still open and additional charges are possible.
  • An officer arrested a 30-year-old male on multiple warrants.
  • An officer arrested a 33-year-old male on an outstanding warrant. He was lodged at the Osceola County Jail.

Tuesday, November 28

  • Nothing reported.

Wednesday, November 29

  • An officer took reports of a 31-year-old male violating his probation. The matter was forwarded to his probation officer.
  • An officer investigated reports of some suspicious events happening at an apartment. After investigating, the reports were unfounded.
  • An officer arrested a 24-year-old male on two outstanding warrants for failing to appear in court.
  • Officers were dispatched to a report of possible mistreatment of a child. The caller is known to have hallucinations due to mental health. The matter was unfounded.
  • An officer arrested a 32-year-old male on an outstanding warrant for contempt of court.
  • An officer investigated reports of possible child abuse. The case is still under investigation.

Thursday, November 30

  • Nothing reported.

Friday, December 1

  • An officer responded to a call about a business door left unlocked. The building was checked and secured
  • Officers took a report of malicious destruction of property.

Saturday, December 2

  • An officer assisted an individual that was having issues with the bank deposit machine.

  • An officer responded to a call, in reference to a threats complaint.

Sunday, December 3

  • An officer responded to a call to do a welfare check on a 40-year-old female. She was found to be ok.

  • An officer was dispatched for a civil standby while an ex-girlfriend exchanged property with her ex-boyfriend.