U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd once called children, “Our greatest asset and our most precious treasure.” And despite weather that turned cold and blustery, that sentiment was reflected by Big Rapids at Thursday's annual Children's Parade down Michigan Avenue. Parade organizer LouAnn Gregory says there's always a good turnout.
“It might be a lower turnout due to the weather, but in the past we've had anywhere from 900 to 1200.”
One resident along the parade route summed up the reason many were in attendance.
“To see my grandchildren,” he said.
Although many children said they were happy to get out of school for the parade, most were glad to get back on their buses after the half mile walk down Michigan Avenue.
President Trump is now saying he will not pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Last week, Trump said he planned to either renegotiate or terminate NAFTA.
Michigan Corn Grower Association Executive Director Jim Zook says since NAFTA was put into place, U.S. corn exports to Mexico and Canada have increased more than seven-fold and pulling out of NAFTA would hurt the profitability of Michigan corn farmers at a time when they are already facing prices that are at or below the cost of production.
A conservation group is raising questions about Dow Chemical's attempts to convince the Trump administration to drop studies that show its pesticides could harm endangered species.
In a series of leaked letters, executives from the Midland-headquartered company asked EPA chief Scott Pruitt to withdraw recently released "biological evaluations" that show three insecticides – including Dow's chlorpyrifos – are likely to harm 97 percent of threatened or endangered species.
Brett Hartl with the Center for Biological Diversity says killing those studies would scuttle a four-year process undertaken to calculate risks and set limits on where the pesticide can be sprayed.
"Dow is now saying, 'Oh, the science is flawed. We need to start completely over' – which is an absurd delaying tactic because they don't like the result."
Hartl notes that Dow contributed $1,000,000 to President Trump's inauguration, and that Trump named Dow CEO Andrew Liveris to lead the American Manufacturing Council.
Earlier this week, Michigan approved amended tax incentives for Dow Chemical.
The state's economy may be improving, but a new study says 75 percent of Michigan residents face stagnant or declining incomes.
Michigan First President Lou Glazer says in spite of the state's low unemployment rate, 40 percent of Michigan households do not have the finances to meet basic needs.
He says a college education is the most reliable path to a good-paying job.
However, the average annual in-state college tuition in Michigan stands at just under $14,000.
Those working at minimum wage jobs earn just over $15,000 a year making college cost prohibitive.
Michigan State Police say one person is dead following a two car crash Wednesday morning near Stanton in Montcalm County.
It happened near the intersection of M-66 and Sidney Road on the border of Sidney and Evergreen townships, south of Stanton.
Authorities have not released the name of the deceased pending notification of family members.
The intersection was closed for a period of time while emergency crews were on scene. The cause of the crash is under investigation.
Authorities from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development say bovine tuberculosis has been found in a cow in West Michigan.
The three year old cow was in a small beef heard in Lake County and had been imported from an infected herd in Franklin County, Indiana.
The cow was euthanized.
The agency says a three-mile surveillance area has been established around the affected farm in Lake County and farms within the area will have six months to complete bovine TB testing.
Speed limits will be going up on a number of Michigan freeways and highways.
The Michigan State Police and MDOT say speed limits along 600 freeway miles in Michigan can be safely increased to 75 miles per hour and 900 miles of highways can go up to 65 miles per hour.
This includes US-131 from M57 in Kent County through Montcalm, Mecosta, Osceola, and Wexford counties to where the freeway ends north of Manton and US-10 from M-115 to I-75 through Clare, Isabella, Midland, and Bay counties.
MDOT says they will begin posting the new speed limits starting May 1.
N. Fourth Avenue just north of Baldwin Street will be closed for some time as a piece of construction equipment hit a utility pole late Wednesday afternoon.
Big Rapids Department of Public Safety Sgt. Jeff Hauger says the pole supports high tension power lines that can energize the ground if they make contact with it.
“The construction crew hit it and broke the pole and it's just barely hanging on.”
He says windy conditions make the situation even more dangerous and it will be some time before the road is reopened because another crew has to be brought on scene, assess the damage, and then begin repairs.
“We basically want people to avoid the area as much as possible,” he says.
Hauger notes no one was injured in the mishap and authorities want to keep it that way.
The Month of the Young Child celebrations continue with Reed City holding their Children's Parade on Wednesday.
Great Start Collaborative Coordinator LouAnn Gregory was there and she says about 600 students took part. She adds the parade is about bringing attention to early childhood and how important the early years are.
The Great Start Collaborative is also teaming up with the Mecosta County Chamber of Commerce for a Community and Family Expo in Big Rapids this weekend.
That event starts at 9:00 am on Saturday at the Big Rapids Middle School.
More than 100 people will be laid off this summer as the privately run North Lake Correctional Facility in Baldwin closes its doors just two years after reopening.
Florida-based GEO Group says the prison will close on June 20th, and the entire workforce will be laid off.
In a filing with the State of Michigan, the company says it is closing the prison because the contract to hold the prisoners was not renewed.
One person is recovering after being hit by a vehicle while trying to cross State Street in Big Rapids.
It happened Monday near the McDonald's restaurant, officers say the vehicle and person trying to cross the street were hidden from each other by another stopped vehicle in the inside lane.
The pedestrian was taken to a Grand Rapids Hospital for their injuries.
A Reed City man with prior felony convictions now faces multiple criminal sexual conduct charges.
According to court documents, 43-year-old Jeffrey Kenneth-Charles Newlove was arraigned on three counts of second-degree CSC following incidents with a young girl in Richmond Township earlier this month.
He faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, but could see more time added as a habitual offender.
His bond is set at $250,000.
Michigan taxpayers who missed the Tuesday, April 18, state individual income tax filing deadline have options for filing a late return, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury.
“Late filers should file all income tax returns that are due,” says Deputy Treasurer Glenn White, head of Treasury’s Tax Administration Group. “If a taxpayer owes tax and cannot make full payment, Treasury will work with them on payment options. We want to help taxpayers avoid interest charges and late payment penalties.”
Treasury recommends past-due tax filers consider:
Filing a return to claim an outstanding refund. Taxpayers risk losing their state income tax refund if they don’t file a return four years from the date due of the original return. Go to www.mifastfile.org to learn more about e-filing.
Filing a return to avoid interest and penalties. File past due returns and pay now to limit interest charges and late payment penalties. Failure to pay could affect a taxpayer’s credit score and the ability to obtain loans.
Requesting a penalty waiver. Penalty may be waived on an assessment if a taxpayer can show reasonable cause for their failure to pay on time. Reasonable cause includes serious illness, a fire or natural disaster, or criminal acts against you. Documentation should be submitted to substantiate the reason for a penalty waiver request.
Paying as much owed tax as possible. If taxpayers owe but can’t pay in full, they should pay as much as they can when they file their tax return. Payments can be made using Michigan’s e-Payments service. When mailing checks, carefully follow tax form instructions. Treasury will work with taxpayers who cannot pay the full amount of tax they owe.
Making monthly payments through an installment agreement. For Installment Agreements lasting for 24 months or less, taxpayers must complete, sign and return the Installment Agreement (Form 990). The agreement requires a proposed payment amount that will be reviewed for approval by Treasury.
To learn more about Michigan’s income tax, go to www.michigan.gov/incometax or call Treasury’s Income Tax Information Line at 517-636-4486. Taxpayer inquires can also be made online.
After receiving enough points at a state robotics competition two weeks ago, the Big Rapids High School robotics team, Big Red Theory, is heading to St. Louis to compete nationally. Coach Andrew Defever says the team leaves for St. Louis Wednesday morning and the competition runs through Saturday.
“We have 13 students on our team this year. We have four freshman, couple of sophomores, two juniors, and then two seniors.”
One team member will not be going with the team because of a prior commitment with the BRHS band.
Team members will also have time to visit scholarship row and an innovation fair. Defever says financial support from anonymous donors and local businesses has been great, but it still costs a lot of money.
“We are still accepting donations right at the high school if anybody is willing to contribute to the team.”
Defever notes the team hopes to come home with a world championship and be invited back for the competition again next year.
A Big Rapids man is dead following a motorcycle crash Monday afternoon.
State Police say it happened on 90th Ave just north of Buchanan.
According to a witness, the motorcycle was traveling south on 90 th Ave when it left the road, entered the ditch, and rolled.
The driver was found unresponsive and was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver was identified as 50-year old Steven Mason of Big Rapids.
The cause of the crash has yet to be determined.
A Wexford County man is being evaluated at Cadillac Munson Hospital following an armed standoff with police on Sunday.
The Sheriff's Office says the Manton man was threatening to commit suicide and pointed a gun at Deputies on the scene.
He periodically came out of the residence on East 16 ½ Road near North 37 Road and refused to comply with Deputies' orders.
The man surrendered and was airlifted to the hospital after an Emergency Response Team deployed chemical agents.
After three years, drivers along Spruce Road in Green Charter Township may be getting some relief after the road was shut down. The problem with the culvert started back in 2014 says Township Supervisor Bob Baldwin.
“It got condemned by the Road Commission, the DEQ got involved, and it's a whole series of events from there on. But what we've been trying to do is figure out a way that we could do a replacement that was affordable.”
Baldwin says the Road Commission did not want to repair the culvert and the DEQ wanted to double its size, which was cost prohibitive. After much negotiation the Road Commission has committed $30,000 to the project provided they are given true engineering plans that have been approved by the DEQ.
“We've come a long ways but we're nearly there, I hope.”
The Township Board now has to decide on one of two companies that will design and engineer the project which is estimated to cost $80,000.
Thousands of Ferris State University students will be giving back to the Big Rapids Community today as part of the 2017 BIG Event.
Students will be raking, picking up trash and cleaning the outsides of area homes from 10am-3pm today.
Event officials are hoping to help 315 homes.
Saturday is Earth Day, and thousands are expected to take to the streets in Washington, DC, and other cities across the US and around the world. But instead of celebrating the natural environment – the People's Climate March will happen a week later – Cornell University biologist Sarah Evanega says Saturday's events are an opportunity for people of all political stripes to stand up in support of science.
"And without it, we would have no cure for polio, no microchips, no cell phones, no artificial hearts, no treatment for diabetes. This is not a partisan issue. We all benefit from the products of science."
One of America's most famous scientists – Bill Nye – is co-chairing the event alongside Dr. Hanna-Attisha, who discovered dangerous lead levels in kids living in Flint. Michiganders can join events in more than a dozen cities including Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Lansing. More than 500 are planned across the globe.
A reminder that State Representative Michele Hoitenga is holding two listening sessions on Monday.
She'll be at Williams Cafe, 19636 30th Ave in Barryton from 8 to 9 am and then at the Moe-Z-Inn, 249 N. Cass St. in Morley from 11 am to noon.
Hoitenga is encouraging residents to come and let her know about their ideas and concerns because, she says, it makes her a more effective representative.