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BigRapidsDailyNews : Breaking News

The Representative Council of the Michigan High School Athletic Association today announced it will move the 2020 Fall football season to Spring 2021, due to football’s higher risk for spreading COVID-19, with the rest of Fall sports proceeding as scheduled.

 

The football season switch was made based on consultation with state health department officials and after surveying MHSAA member high schools on their progress and preferences after the first four days of practice. Football is considered a high-risk sport for potential spread of the COVID-19 virus because of its level of player-to-player contact.

 

A total of 34,219 student-athletes played football at MHSAA member schools during the 2019 season. A total of 520 11-player teams and 83 8-player teams were anticipated during late summer to play football this fall season.

 

“At the end of the day, we did everything we could to find a path forward for football this fall,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said. “But while continuing to connect with the Governor’s office, state health department officials, our member schools’ personnel and the Council, there is just too much uncertainty and too many unknowns to play football this fall.

“No one is willing to take the risk of COVID being passed on because of a high-risk sport. Decisions have to be made on our other sports as well, but none of those carry the same close, consistent, and face-to-face contact as football.”

 

The MHSAA announced July 17 it would proceed this school year with its traditional calendar beginning with Fall sports but with enhanced precautions to help limit the spread of COVID-19. At that time, the MHSAA also stated it would move football, and other Fall sports seasons, to the spring of 2021 if they were deemed unsafe to proceed when originally scheduled. Football was allowed to begin practice, with helmets but no other padding, on Aug. 10.

 

Volleyball and soccer are considered moderate-risk for virus spread, while cross country, golf, tennis and swimming & diving are considered low-risk. Cross Country, Lower Peninsula girls golf and boys tennis and Upper Peninsula girls tennis began practice Aug. 12; golf and tennis teams may begin competing Aug. 19, and cross country teams may begin competing Aug. 21.

 

Volleyball, boys soccer and Lower Peninsula girls swimming & diving also began practice Aug. 12, and competition guidelines for those sports will be announced Aug. 19. Schools in regions under Phase 4 of the MI Safe Start Plan remain unable to play volleyball or swim/dive indoors due to governmental restrictions. Further guidance from Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s office is expected in the near future regarding these indoor facilities.

 

Details for the spring football season including a specific schedule and format will be announced over the next few months. The MHSAA will be working to limit overlap of spring football and the traditional Spring sport seasons.

 

“While this is tremendously disappointing, we will do everything possible to provide the best possible experience in the spring while adding football into the calendar,” Uyl said.

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Police arrested a pair on charges connected to a break-in of a building in Downtown Big Rapids. 

 

In a press release, Detective Brian Miller says $8,000 worth in jewelry was stolen during an incident July 6th.

 

The suspects were identified during an investigation however the stolen jewelry has yet to be recovered.

 

Misty Gerlacher was arrested and arraigned this week on a charge of Possession of stolen property, while the second suspect Adam Campbell was arrested and arraigned for burglary and larceny from a building.

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Another sports conference suspends its fall season because of the coronavirus -- and it's affecting several Michigan schools.

 

The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, also knows as GLIAC, is officially suspending all sports competition until January of next year.

 

The council of presidents voted unanimously on the decision yesterday.

 

This means that Grand Valley State, Ferris State, Wayne State, and other state universities will have to wait until 2021 to resume their athletic programs.

 

Ferris State University Athletics released its official statement following the decision: 

 

 

 

The winter and spring sports competition calendar will be announced at a later date.

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A Newaygo man has been charged with lying to police about an active shooter situation last week in Big Rapids Township.

 

53-year old Randy Brian Thompson was arraigned on charges of falsely reporting a felony and lying to a peace officer.

 

The charges stem from events on August 5th, when police were dispatched to what was initially reported as a rollover accident involving a person trapped under a vehicle in Big Rapids Township.

 

According to a press release, police got a second call stating the person under the vehicle was armed and shot out the windows of the vehicle.

 

When deputies arrived to the scene, they found Thompson and another man.

 

Deputies conducted an investigation and found there were no signs of any shots fired and there was no active shooter.

 

Thompson and the other man were found to be under the influence of narcotics and to have provided false information to police.

 

Thompson remains lodged at the Mecosta County Jail on a $50,000  bond.

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The coronavirus pandemic forced a lot of changes across the state -- and it's called into question a 40-year-old law.

 

Several companies and associations are planning to hold a zoom meeting today to discuss how to recycle the state's bottle deposit law -- and how to reinvest in it.

 

They say infrastructures are not equipped properly to handle the large returns made by Michigan homes as cans and bottles have piled up for nearly FIVE months due to the statewide lockdown.

 

They estimate it would take six months for retailers and distributors to clear through the massive backlog of bottles and cans.

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We’re all told to face challenges one step at a time. But what if that simple action proved impossible? That was the case for 72-year-old Rosiebelle Hallowell. 20 years ago, the Howard City resident was seriously injured in a car accident. She says she’s been plagued by chronic pain ever since.

 

“It’s hard for me to remember a time when I didn’t have pain,” said Hallowell. “I’ve had so many problems with my spine and gone to multiple doctors. Nothing worked.”

 

Around a year ago, the pain intensified to the point where Rosiebelle felt it every time she took a step. She describes the sensation as an electric shock pulsing through her tailbone and into her legs.  

 

“It’s overwhelming when you are dealing with so much pain,” said Hallowell. “I couldn’t do anything for more than 15 minutes without having to sit down. The pain was so constant and intense that it was very hard to focus on simple tasks.”

 

Rosiebelle sought the advice of Big Rapids’ own West Michigan Pain Specialist Girish Juneja, MD. Dr. Juneja diagnosed Rosiebelle with spinal stenosis - a common condition that occurs when the spinal canal becomes compressed. That pinching of the spinal cord and nerve roots can cause severe pain, cramping, weakness, or numbness. The pain, which is minimal while a person is bending or at rest, can become unbearable in the back and legs when they begin walking, even short distances. 

 

Surgeons typically treat the condition by removing part of the bone to reduce pressure on the spinal nerves. But the surgery can leave the spine unstable. So physicians may have to fuse the remaining bone back together.

 

Rosiebelle was unsure that kind of surgery was the answer. She had already undergone numerous surgical procedures to relieve pain in other parts of her body.

 

“I had one disk in my back operated on years ago,” said Hallowell. “And I also had work done on my neck. I just didn’t want to have to go through a difficult recovery again.”


Dr. Juneja decided Rosiebelle was a good candidate for a revolutionary new treatment offered at West Michigan Surgery Center. Using a special tube the size of a dime, Dr. Juneja placed a Superion® by Vertiflex® Interspinous Spacer between Rosiebelle’s vertebrae - or bones in her spine. The spacer acts as a blocker, holding the vertebrae open, which works to relieve pressure on the patient’s nerves. The FDA approved procedure takes just minutes, and requires only a small incision in the lower back. Dr. Juneja says he’s excited to offer this minimally invasive alternative to traditional spinal fusion surgery.

 

“This intervention is a game-changer,” said Dr. Juneja. “Almost every patient can be offered this treatment if they have symptomatic spinal stenosis. This new intervention is so simple, and preserves the bone. As a result, patients recover quicker and can feel the difference almost immediately.” 

 

“It’s unbelievable.” said Hallowell. “One day later and the pain in my legs was just gone. Now I’m able to get back to my artwork and all the other things I love. I am so happy and thankful for Dr. Juneja and his staff. He is a brilliant doctor who truly cares.”

 

Dr. Juneja is one of only a few doctors in the country and the only doctor in west Michigan trained to perform the procedure using the Vertiflex® Interspinous Spacer. He hopes to help more people like Rosiebelle overcome their pain.

 

“Our goal is to help patients get back to living their lives without having to depend on medications,” said Dr. Juneja. “We’re proud to bring this state-of-the-art care to the people of our surrounding rural community and beyond.”

 

 

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State Police are investigating a fatal crash in which the driver of a moped was killed Tuesday in Montcalm Township, northeast of Grand Rapids.

 

38-year-old Edward Herroon was driving his moped and waiting to make a turn when he was hit by a minivan and killed.

 

The 81-year-old driver of the minivan was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

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Lume Cannabis Company announced its planning to expands its facility in Osceola County.

 

Lume says its cultivation facility in Evart will expand from 50-thousand square feet to 450-thousand square feet.

 

Lume says the first expansion, which is scheduled to start this month, will add 85-thousand square feet to the facility.

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a $1 million grant to Ferris State University for the prevention of opioid use disorders.

 "This funding will support efforts to stop the opioid crisis in mid and northern Michigan,” said Congressman John Moolenaar. “This grant gives Ferris State the flexibility to use the funds in the in the best way possible to meet the needs of the community and prevent opioid abuse."

Congressman Moolenaar is Michigan’s only member of the House Appropriations subcommittee with oversight of the Department of Health and Human Services and its funding. In his four years on the panel, he has regularly met with community leaders in health care and law enforcement about the opioid crisis. He has also voted for legislation that funds the fight against the opioid crisis including the grants announced.

 

The grant was made by HHS’s Human Resources and Services Administration as part of more than $100 million in grants announced by the department for organizations nationwide to fight substance and opioid use disorders. HHS Secretary Alex Azar says “These HRSA awards will help strengthen prevention, treatment, and recovery services, especially in rural America, at this difficult time."

 

Ferris State recently recieved over $385,000 for cancer research. 

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District Health Department #10 (DHD#10) is offering free drive-through community testing for COVID-19 on Thursday, August 13, in Newaygo and Friday, August 14, in Baldwin. In collaboration with the National Guard, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), Local Law Enforcement and Emergency Management, Newaygo Public Schools and Baldwin Community Schools, testing information is as follows: 

 

COVID-19 Drive-Through Community Testing Site

Newaygo High School Parking Lot
200 East Street, Newaygo, MI
Thursday, August 13, from 1:00 to 6:00 PM 

 

Baldwin High School Parking Lot
524 4th Street, Baldwin, MI
Friday, August 14, from 2:00 to 6:00 PM  

 

  • Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to be tested for COVID-19 

  • Please bring picture ID 

  • Not accepting appointments; first come, first served 

  • Open to all surrounding counties 

  • Not limited to symptomatic individuals 

  • Testing is to determine current COVID-19 status; Not offering antibody testing 

  • Testing is nasopharyngeal swab (long cotton-tipped swab inserted in nose) 

  • Test results typically take 7-9 days to come in, sometimes faster. You will receive instructions for logging in to BioReference Laboratories Patient Portal to obtain results. You will only be contacted by DHD#10 if your results are positive for COVID-19. 

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Police arrested two men in Mecosta County, accused of reporting a fake active shooter situation and crashing a pick-up truck while on drugs.

 

The sheriff’s office saysin a press release the first call came in around 3 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.

 

Deputies started to respond to a crash on Northland Drive south of Big Rapids when a second call said someone was under the truck that crashed and shooting the windows out.

 

Police found two men at the scene. One was bleeding from his head, but the truck on scene did not have any bullet holes.

 

Deputies say an investigation found the two men drove through a field, damaging two fences and one building before crashing into the ditch.

 

The pair was arrested for driving while on drugs and obstruction.

 

The identities of the suspects are being withheld pending arraignment.

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Brian Miller will be the next Mecosta Co. Sheriff. Miller, a Big Rapids Department of Public Safety Detective, won the August Primary election against current Under-sheriff James Taylor, Deputy Jared Christensen and Mark Solis.

 

The election results are as follows:

 

Brian Miller-3,445

James Taylor- 2,589

Jared Christensen-1,286

Mark Solis- 703

 

Miller will be sworn in on January, 2021

 

In other election results, voters approved operating millage and bond proposals for the Morley-Stanwood School District. The 911 surcharge for the Meceola Central Dispatch was also approved in Mecosta County and Mike Wernette wins the Road Commission seat. 

 

For more in depth election results CLICK HERE 

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Ferris State University received a grant from the Department of Health and Human Services’ National Cancer Institute.

 

The grant of $385,406 will support cancer research at Ferris State.

 

Congressman John Moolenaar is Michigan’s only member of the House Appropriations subcommittee with oversight of the Department of Health and Human Services said the grant Ferris recieved is much deserved and colleges around the state should be commended for all the great work they are doing.

 

"Colleges and universities in mid and northern Michigan are doing critical research and that’s why I have successfully worked to pass record funding for federal research in the fight against cancer. I hope this grant will help Ferris State make a positive contribution to the worldwide efforts against this disease,” said Congressman Moolenaar.

The technical name of the grant project is “Combinatorial Biosynthesis and Metabolism Studies of Novel Tetracenomycins” and it was awarded to Professor Eric Nybo. 

 

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A Remus man is behind bars following a domestic violence incident Wednesday evening.

 

Michigan State Police say troopers were dispatched to a domestic assault in Isabella County, Broomfield Twp.


Troopers found that the suspect, a 30-year-old Remus man, was intoxicated and had just assaulted
and strangled a female victim.

 

When the victim attempted to contact 911, the suspect took the phone from her to stop her attempt to call for help.

 

The victim was able to call 911 from a cellphone at a neighbor’s residence.


The suspect was arrested for Felony Domestic Violence, Assault by Strangulation, and Interfering with
Electronic Communications.

 

He is being held at the Isabella County Jail pending arraignment.

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The Michigan High School Athletic Association says competition can begin August 19th and 21st for golf, tennis and cross country, but it has held off on allowing the start of football, volleyball and soccer games during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

The group says it will make decisions about competition timelines for football, volleyball and soccer by August 20th.

 

The MHSAA's representative council voted to cancel scrimmages in all fall sports and limited the number of teams that can compete in regular-season tournaments, invitationals and other multi-team events.

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Michigan State Police arrested a 30-year-old Big Rapids man in connection with an investigation into kidnapping and criminal sexual conduct in Mecosta County, Austin Township.

 

Troopers started an investigation into the report of an adult female being sexually assaulted by an adult male subject.
 

Troopers determined sexual assaults on the female had taken place at two different residences over a two-day period.
 

The victim was allegedly held against her will, threatened with a weapon, and sexually assaulted.


After further investigation into the reported crimes, the Mecosta County Prosecutor’s Office issued a three-count felony warrant for the male suspect which included Kidnapping, Criminal Sexual Conduct -1st degree, and Criminal Sexual Conduct-3rd degree.


The suspect was lodged at the Mecosta County Jail and is awaiting arraignmen

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7/27

 

20-986-400 block of W Bridge.  Civil.  

 

20-987.  Called out as a fight between 2 females on the sidewalk by ice arena.  One female, a 24 year old female was arrested for domestic assault on her sister, a 25 year old.  

 

20-988 – Trespassing in the 1100 block of Catherine Lot.  Female wanted a male trespassed as she found out he is a sex offender and she no longer wanted him around her kids. He was trespassed from her property.

 

20-989 – Larceny in the 200 block of Maple. Workers reported that a customer, a 48 year old male, ordered food for pick via a phone call, came to the restaurant, stole money out of the tip jar (approximately $40.00), used that money to pay for his pizza and then left with his food. They verified this over the video later that he actually stole money from them.  He was contacted over telephone, where he admitted to stealing the money.  He never arrived for his interview in person at BRPD. He was seen on city camera arriving from S Warren area and leaving to S Warren area on a bicycle. Charges will be sought.

 

20-990 – Suspicious in the 100 block of Sanborn Ave; strange banging noise on wall was heard by tenant. House and outside were checked nothing seen or heard.

 

7/28

 

No calls of significance to report.

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The Michigan Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned the jury tampering conviction of a West Michigan man.

 

Keith Wood was distributing pamphlets back in 2015 outside the Mecosta County courthouse in Big Rapids.

 

Wood told people they could choose their conscience over the law if they were picked to serve on a jury.

 

Wood was charged with jury tampering and convicted of a misdemeanor.

 

But the Supreme Court ruled people who haven't actually participated in a case aren't jurors under Michigan law.

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7/24

 

Traffic Non Crim - Initially no insurance then found there was a mistake made by insurance company.  Vehicle released to owner. 

 

Hit and Run / OWI - A 42 year old male was going home from the 1100 block of Catherine St and turned in front of a Jeep.  The Jeep struck the truck but not $1000 dollars in damage.  The truck was found 15 minutes later at residence on 15 Mille Rd and 180th Ave.  After field sobriety tests, he was found to be under the influence and was lodged at MCSO for Fail to stop and ID and OWI.

 

7/25

 

1300 block of Catherine.  Female wanted to report that someone had keyed into her apartment while she was gone, but nothing was taken and the lights were left on.

 

Resident in the 300 block of W Bridge reported a W/M peering into the windows. Unknown direction of travel. Searched the area with the thermal and on foot and did not locate anyone.

 

900 block of Maple. Emergency alarm via SiriusXM was activated in male's truck.  No issues.  He was unaware he even had the feature in his truck.

 

7/26

 

Suspicious in the 400 block of Maple St.  Smoke alarm was going off without any smoke being present. Alarm was disabled; residence is under renovation.

 

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There was a fatal crash Sunday in mid Michigan's Sidney Township, south of Stanton, killing one woman and injuring several children.

 

A 23 year-old woman was killed after the minivan she was in was initially rear ended and pushed into the southbound lanes of M-66. It was then hit by a pickup truck.

 

Five children were injured and taken to Helen DeVos Children's Hospital by helicopter and by ambulance.

 

The 23-year-old driver of the minivan, a man, had minor injuries and was treated at the scene as was the driver of the pickup and a couple of passengers.

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