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A man pulled over for a traffic violation in mid Michigan's Austin Township, west of Mecosta took off Sunday afternoon and then crashed.

 

The Mecosta County Sheriff's Office reportedly says he was driving a stolen car .

 

The 33-year-old man was taken to a hospital in Grand Rapids for non-life threatening injuries.

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The Big Rapids Department of Public Safety and Mecosta County Sheriff Office is looking for the public's assistance in identifying the male in the photo. 

 

He is wanted for questioning in related to two separate incidents at businesses last evening in the City of Big Rapids and Big Rapids Township.   

 

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Sergeant Brian Miller of the BRDPS at 231 527-0005, or Deputy Andrew Duddles of the MCSO at 231 592-0150.

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It looks like the Reed City High School Football team may have a chance to continue its playoff run as the MHSAA announced plans to finish fall sports tournaments on Wednesday. 

 

High School sports practices will resume December ninth if the state Health Department lifts the latest restrictions as planned. If the Health Department allows practice to resume, the High School football playoffs would continue December 15th and 16th with the finals at Ford Field on December 28th and 29th.

 

Volleyball finals would be played on December 19th. Swimming and Diving finals would be conducted December 22nd and 23rd.

 

Under the current plan, practice for winter sports would start December ninth, with the first games planned for January 4th

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The latest restrictions will be affecting high school sports.

 

The Michigan High School Athletic Association has suspended its Fall tournaments, including football and volleyball. In addition, all winter practices and games, which were scheduled to start over the next three weeks have been suspended.

 

The association's Executive Director says he understands the need for action, and will look at options to complete the fall sports tournaments when the restrictions are lifted.

 

The association will be assessing all sports over the next three weeks in hopes of coming up with a plan for future seasons

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New restrictions are in place in Michigan as state leaders try to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

 

Sunday evening, Governor Whitmer announced a three-week pause in some activities. A graph from the Michigan Health Department says from November 18th, which is this Wednesday, thru December 8th, high schools and colleges will be remote only.

 

School districts will be able to choose between in-person or remote learning for pre-k thru eighth grade classes.

 

Restaurants and bars will be closed except for outdoor dining, carryout or delivery. Casinos, movie theaters, bowling alleys and ice rinks will be closed. Stores, hair salons, gyms, health care offices and other personal car facilities will remain open.

 

Family gatherings are limited to two different families and only ten people.

 

The Governor said if aggressive action isn't taken, Michigan could have one-thousand deaths a week in the coming weeks.

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Reed City and Kingsley, both unbeaten, will square off at 7 p.m. Friday night at Reed City High School in the MHSAA Division 5 District 1 championship game. The game is a rematch of last year's district semifinal, when Kingsley knocked off the Coyotes 48-36.  

 

Both teams feature highly potent running attacks. Reed City is led by its quartet of seniors, Landen Tomaski, Alex Wirgau, Payton Hansen and Noah Jones. Against a much larger Kingsford team last week, the Coyotes managed to run for 358 yards. Jones led the way in the 32-14 win, scoring three times and gaining 159 yards. 

 

The Coyotes also had success through the air last week. Quarterback Isaac Williams hit Seth Jackson for an acrobatic 26-yard touchdown. Jackson was one of eight Coyotes to be named First Team All-CSAA Gold. Williams was the Coyotes' lone honorable mention selection. 

 

Other Coyotes named to the division's first team were Joe Shewan, Chaz Davis, Teddy Cross, Wirgau, Hansen, Jones and Dylan Schebil. Schebil was on crutches during the Coyotes win over Kingsford, so his status for Saturday is in doubt. 

 

Starting center Kyle Crusan left the game in the fourth quarter last week with an injury. If both he and Schebil are unable to play against the Stags, expect Logan Ringler and Kaiden Burgess to step in. 

 

Kingsley has a solid stable of backs as well, led by Aidan Shier, Owen Graves and Connor Scheuller. Each of the three had long touchdown runs in the Stags' win over Gladwin. Graves led the team in rushing with 154 yards while quarterback Evan Douglass completed 5-of-7 passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns. 

 

Neither team throws the ball much, however they'll struggle given the talent in the opposing secondary. Jackson is arguably the area's best safety when it comes to athleticism, while Kingsley's Jayden Inthisone picked off three passes last week. 

 

The winner of this one will be the team who plays the cleanest game. Both squads know exactly what they want to do and rarely deviate from their game plans. For that reason, limiting turnovers and controlling the time of possession becomes paramount. 

 

Whichever team keeps the ball the longest will likely hoist a trophy when the dust settles. 

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Another Michigan hospital system is changing its visitor policies as the number of coronavirus cases skyrocket.

 

Spectrum Health says effective today, adult patients will not be allowed to have family members or visitors with them unless they have cognitive impairment or need significant assistance with day-to-day activities.

 

Staff at the hospitals will work with those patients to develop virtual visits. Exceptions include labor and delivery patients who will be allowed one visitor, ICU patients can have one visitor between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m., surgical patients can have one visitor in the waiting room and pediatric patients are allowed two adult family members.

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A 58-year old man is dead following a fatal house fire in Big Rapids.

 

It happened early Tuesday morning at a residence on Sanborn.

 

Investigators say when firefighters arrived to the scene they were notified not all residents where accounted for.

 

Fire crews were able to extinguish a lot of the fire, when they arrived inside in the home they contained the rest of the fire and located a 58-year old man in a back bedroom of his apartment.

 

The man was pronounced deceased at the scene by EMS.

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Dog owners in Big Rapids can now stave off a soaking or other weather-related issues during visits to the Brutus Dog Park, thanks to a 304-square-foot structure recently installed by Associated Construction Students from Ferris State University.

Junior Jay Janutol, of Troy, is the ACS chapter president, who said crews of six to eight students took part in the installation the weekend of Oct. 9-11, followed by the last round of work on Friday, Oct. 16. The Janutol, a Construction Management major, said the gazebo on posts has a roof that peaks at 11 feet high, with corrugated metal to keep out rain and frame the structure.

“The east and west sides are open to the elements, but there are sliding Plexiglas windows on the north and south sides of the gazebo, which should accommodate several dog owners and their pets if there is a sudden change in the weather,” Janutol said. “The plans were drawn up by an Architecture student several years ago, and the city’s Civil Engineering Technician Cody Wyman approached our registered student organization to take up the project.”

 



Janutol said a variety of sponsors provided materials to build the gazebo. The organization received a positive reaction to its work, based on comments during the students’ first weekend on-site. Big Rapids City Manager Mark Gifford, a Ferris alumnus, said that this project meets a significant need for park users.

“There are many people at the park each day, both year-round city residents and students from Ferris, who bring their pets,” Gifford said. “At one point a few years ago, those residents who were bringing their dogs in the winter had a makeshift shelter in place. We are so thankful that the Architecture program presented the original design. It is wonderful that the ACS students were willing to see this through and put the structure in place before the season changes.”

“This was originally supposed to be taken up last Spring, but as with many things, the COVID-19 pandemic set the work aside,” Janutol said. “We would be interested in using our talents in the construction of another structure at the park, but our next volunteer project will find us working on a build at the New Hope Center homeless shelter in Cadillac, yet this month.”
Gifford said that many people and their pets should benefit from this collaborative effort.
“It shows the immeasurable value that Ferris presents in our community,” Gifford said. “I know that the users of Brutus Dog Park are ecstatic about what has been put in place.”

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Reed City looks to secure its first District Championship game appearance Saturday when it takes on Kingsford. The Flivvers will be making a 370 mile drive from the Upper Peninsula to try and knock off the unbeaten Coyotes. 

 

The Coyotes, who have revived the punishing run game of years past in the form of a four-headed monster, come into Saturday's MHSAA Division 5 District Semifinal unbeaten and averaging 46 points a game. The Flivvers, who enter the game at 4-2, have allowed just over 10. 

 

It will be a battle in the trenches. The Flivvers have plenty of size all over the field, including on the defensive interior. Elliot Johnson, a two-way tackle, stands 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, making him a tough matchup. The Coyotes will attempt to counter that with a front five that has had a lot of success over the course of the season. 

 

The Coyotes hold the advantage in the backfield. Led by four seniors, Noah Jones, Landen Tomaski, Payton Hansen and Alex Wirgau, the Coyotes have run the ball at will against its first seven opponents. It may be difficult to run between the tackles against the physical Flivver offensive line, however Reed City can run wild if it is able to get to the edge. 

 

Offensively, the Flivvers are led by Michael Menguzzo. Coach Mark Novara has plenty of weapons at his disposal, including running backs Carter Kreski and Ben Rumpf and lanky receivers Hunter Bilgreen and Zachary Person. 

 

Both Person and Bilgreen stand above 6-feet tall, which spells trouble for the Coyote cornerbacks Tomaski and Isaac Williams. The size is a weakness, however Tomaski and Williams are good enough athletes to be competitive. Additionally, safety Seth Jackson has been outstanding in pass coverage this season. 

 

The Coyotes should be fine against the run, as the front seven has been good all year long. Teddy Cross is as good a defensive lineman as they come, and the duo of Wirgau and Hansen stops runners from getting to the secondary. 

 

Reed City may not win the battle of size Saturday afternoon. However, the Coyotes have more than enough athletes to win this game. It will be more competitive than last week's rout of Cheboygan. Yet, coach Scott Shankel should have his team ready for this test. 

 

This will be one of the better games in Division 5 this week. It's only fitting that there is a trip to the district championship game on the line. 

 

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The Mecosta County Park Commission finalized a plan during their October 20 th meeting to expand off-season operations of Brower County Park.

 

Beginning Friday, November 6th Brower Park will open the gates to allow access to the deep-water channel boat launch, boat trailer parking areas and parking areas for use of the Brower Park Loop portion of Michigan's Dragon Trail at Hardy Dam.

 

Park Superintendent Jeff Abel stated, “Barriers are in place to keep vehicle traffic isolated to only these areas of the park, however foot traffic is welcome throughout the entire park and campground areas.” This operational change is expected to be a tremendous expansion to the off-season opportunities offered by the Mecosta County Park Commission.


The change will allow for trail visitors, boaters, shoreline fisherman and ice fisherman to experience portions of the park that were previously closed during the non-camping season.


Superintendent Abel stated, “We are really excited about expanding our operations to provide this opportunity for county residents and visitors to the area with intentions to have these changes become the permanent operating standard for Brower Park. This change is in line with where the Park Commission is focused by prioritizing park amenities and opportunities for county residents above and beyond the camping opportunities currently available within the
county parks.”


Vehicle permit fees of $7 per day are required for access and can be paid by utilizing a fee pipe and off-season payment station being installed within the park. Mecosta County Parks annual vehicle permits are valid with no additional payment required to use the facilities.


Additional off-season recreational opportunities offered through the Mecosta County Park Commission include rustic camping at Tubb’s Lake and Haymarsh State Game Areas, day use of the White Pine Valley Recreation Area, parking with access to the White Pine Trail and Muskegon River in Paris and day use access at Davis Bridge County Park.


For additional information on the Mecosta County Parks visit www.MecostaCountyParks.com or contact the parks administration office at 231-832-3246. For additional information on Michigan’s Dragon Trail at Hardy Dam visit www.thedragon.us.

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The countdown is on to Election day with Congressional, state and local candidates making their final push for votes.

 

While there have been a record number of absentee ballots cast, voting will continue through eight o'clock tomorrow (TUES) night.

 

Both President Trump and former vice president Joe Biden campaigned in Michigan over the weekend. President Trump is scheduled to hold rallies today in Traverse City and Grand Rapids.

 

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said she is expecting more than five million votes in the election. 2.7 million absentee ballots have already been cast.

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A 17-year old driver from Houghton Lake came away with minor injuries following a rollover accident in Mecosta County on Sunday.

 

Deputies say it happened on US-131 near 22 mile Road.

 

That's where a 17-year old female driver was traveling and lost control of her vehicle on the icy roads and overturned.

 

She was taken to Spectrum Health Big Rapids.

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Increasing coronavirus cases -- and hospitalizations -- are being reported across the state.

 

The Michigan Health Department reported 3,675 new confirmed cases of the virus on Thursday along with 41 deaths.

 

Michigan Chief Medical Executive Joneigh Khaldun says Michigan's cases have been increasing for six weeks, with a positivity rate now of 5.5%.

 

Here in Mecosta County District Health Dept. Officials say cases increased by Thursday by 16 for a total of 534 positive COVID-19 cases since reporting began in March.

 

There have also been 199 recoveries since that same time period and currently there are 8 patients at Big Rapids Spectrum Health Hospital due to coronavirus, according to data by DHD#10.

 

For more information within the DHD#10 jurisdiction CLICK HERE

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With the 2020 presidential election just days away, Mecosta County Clerk Marcee Purcell says there is a lot to do before Tuesday. 


We have gotten a lot of phone calls because there are alot of people who have never voted before and are unfamiliar with the voting process.” Purcell said   “It's really the first I think major election that proposal 3 really had an impact on the election as far as voter registration and no reason absentee votes.”


As of Wednesday, 10,234 absentee ballots have been issued in Mecosta County and 8,148 have been returned according to Purcell.  


 

Another challenge the Mecosta Co. Clerk is facing is training election inspectors before this election.

 

Normally I do my training, I have to train all of the election inspectors and normally I do the training before the August primary well I'm doing my training this week and I have four days of training scheduled because think that voting precincts are taking on a lot of new people and maybe have had several people that decided they didn't want to work due to COVID which is another challenge.” Purcell said. 


If a voter wants to change their ballot in any way or “spoil” it then they have the option of going to their clerk’s office with proper identification and changing their ballot but Purcell says they only have until Monday, Nov. 2nd to do that, once the ballot goes to the voting precinct it will be counted as a final vote.

 

To find where to vote in Mecosta County CLICK HERE

 

 

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Spectrum Health Reed City Hospitals’ Rehabilitation and Nursing Center (RNC) has received the highest overall ratings from U.S. News & World Report. A “high performing” ranking was issued Tuesday for the hospital’s short-
term rehabilitation program and for long-term care at the facility.


The Reed City Hospital RNC is among just 21% of U.S. skilled nursing facilities that have been recognized as a Best Nursing Home for 2020-21 by U.S. News & World Report.


The designation is awarded to those homes that satisfy U.S. News’s assessment of the appropriate use of key services and consistent performance in quality measures.

 

“We’re extremely pleased with the distinction,” said Jeff Godfrey, Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital RNC administrator. “COVID-19 has challenged us in many ways this year, but our commitment to quality in patient care hasn’t faltered. I’m extremely proud of our staff for delivering best outcomes for our patients and residents.”


Now in its 11th year, the U.S. News Best Nursing Homes ratings and profiles offer comprehensive information about care, safety, health inspections, staffing and more for nearly all of the nation’s 15,000-plus nursing homes. The Best Nursing Homes ratings reflect U.S. News’s exclusive analysis of publicly available data using a methodology defined by U.S. News that evaluates factors that it has determined most greatly impact patient and resident care, safety, and outcomes.


This year, to accompany the new ratings, nursing home profile pages were updated to include a patient safety summary that reflects COVID-19 data alongside other measurements of safety and related advice on choosing a home or facility amidst the pandemic.


“U.S. News strives to provide access to information that allows consumers to make educated decisions on all types of care,” said Ben Harder, managing editor and chief of health analysis at U.S. News. “Updating the profiles to include a patient safety summary that highlights COVID-19 data paired with other measures of care arms families, caregivers and patients with the information needed to make a decision that keeps safety at the highest priority.”


The long-term care rating aims to provide prospective residents who need help with daily activities, and their families, with analysis and information regarding the quality of care provided by nursing homes. The rating includes data on staffing, success in preventing ER visits and pneumonia vaccination rates, among other metrics.


The short-term rating incorporates measures of quality including consistency of registered nurse staffing, use of antipsychotic drugs and success in preventing falls.

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District Health Department #10 (DHD#10) was notified that two restaurants, one in Big Rapids and one in Newaygo, had individuals that tested positive for COVID-19 present and potentially contagious in their facilities. The Gypsy Nickel Lounge in Big Rapids had COVID-19-positive individuals present on October 15, 16 and 17. In Newaygo, Northern Trails Bar & Grill had COVID-19-positive individuals present on October 16 and October 22. These are considered high-risk exposures because individuals could have had close contact with a positive case that DHD#10 cannot identify or notify through contact tracing. 

 

If you were at the above locations on the dates and times listed, you should self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days from the possible exposure date. Anyone that is self-monitoring as a result should keep away from family, close contacts, and roommates as much as possible. COVID-19 symptoms include fever or chills, cough, fatigue, shortness of breath, muscle aches, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and recent loss of taste or smell. Anyone experiencing one or more of these symptoms should immediately quarantine themselves and contact a medical provider.  

 

DHD#10 will release information about high-risk public exposure sites when it is determined through investigation that it’s not possible to identify all close contacts.  DHD#10 will no longer publish low-risk exposure sites where a COVID-19 positive individual was present but did not have close contact with others or we are able to notify close contacts through contact tracing. It is important to remember that approximately 40% of COVID-19 cases appear to be asymptomatic. Asymptomatic cases are especially difficult because they are not sick and therefore not staying home. Additionally, contagious individuals can spread virus prior to experiencing symptoms.  

 

For more information about COVID-19, go to: www.dhd10.org/coronaviruswww.michigan.gov/coronavirus, or www.cdc.com/coronavirus

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A Big Rapids man is in a Grand Rapids hospital after being struck by a car in Big Rapids Tuesday night.

 

Department of Public Safety Officers say it happened just before 8pm on S. State Street and Locust when a 60-year old man was walking a across State Street and was struck by a vehicle driven by a 49-year old White Cloud woman.

 

The Big Rapids man suffered head injuries.

 

The crash remains under investigation.

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A Harrison man was placed under arrest Friday on drug charges following a traffic stop by Michigan State Police. 

 

Troopers say they were checking on a parked vehicle on the shoulder of the roadway on Ball Avenue near Townline Lake Road in the City of Harrison.

 

As troopers contacted the driver, they observed a firearm magazine on the front seat of the vehicle.  

 

Troopers asked the driver to exit the vehicle. 

 

A search of the vehicle was conducted, and a large amount of individually packaged methamphetamine was located.  

 

Additional packaging material was also found in the vehicle.

 

The 39-year-old Harrison man was arrested and lodged at the Clare County Jail pending
arraignment 

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The District Heath Department #10 reported Monday the largest increase in cases within Mecosta County.

 

Health Dept. officials confirmed 78 new COVID-19 cases between Friday and Sunday.

 

In total, the county has reported 493 confirmed cases, four deaths and 188 recoveries.

 

Ferris State University also reported an increase in cases over the weekend.

As of Monday, the university reported 13 new COVID-19 cases at the Big Rapids campus, bringing its total to 305 Since classes began on Aug 26th. 51cases remain active.

 

Meanwhile, the Big Rapids Community Library will be closed until Thursday, November 5 following a coronavirus exposure.

 

Officials are advising if you were at the library on Monday, October 19 or Wednesday, October 21, you should self-monitor for 14 days.

 

If you have any due dates for items checked out from the library during the closure, they will be adjusted.

 

For a more detailed look locally about COVID-19 CLICK HERE  

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