BigRapidsDailyNews : Breaking News

It is going to be a little bit more expensive to take classes at Ferris State University during the 2021-22 school year. 

 

On Friday, the Ferris State University Board of Trustees approved the 2021-22 tuition rates, general fund operating budget, and the housing and dining budget.

 

Trustees approved tuition rates including an average and normal range undergraduate increase of 3.16 percent. This new rate is below the proposed state tuition restraint limit of 4.2 percent while covering a portion of the university’s fixed costs. For Ferris and Kendall College of Art and Design undergraduate general education students, the freshman-sophomore increase is 2.71 percent, to $455 per credit hour, while the junior-senior increase is 3.62 percent, to $487. KCAD’s tuition will also increase by 3.16 percent for undergraduate studio students from the U.S. and Canada.

 

For the coming year, Ferris has committed an additional $1.1 million toward scholarship funding for a total of $26.5 million dedicated to providing an affordable student experience. During the last decade, the increased financial aid and donor scholarships have lowered Ferris’ attendance net price, an estimated amount students and families are expected to pay for the academic year, ranking fifth-lowest among Michigan’s 15 public universities. Ferris is the only public Michigan university where this is the case. With the stimulus dollars earmarked for students from the American Rescue Plan, the university believes that students will pay less next year.

 

Board members approved a preliminary 2021-22 general fund operating budget of $202.1 million. This fall, after the start of the academic year, the administration will present a final budget to the board for approval.

 

Trustees also approved a preliminary 2021-22 housing and dining budget of $28.1 million.

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Michigan will lift all indoor capacity restrictions and mask requirements tomorrow -- 10 days sooner than planned amid vaccinations and plummeting COVID-19 infections.

 

The state's main coronavirus order will expire at midnight tonight instead of on July 1st. It means 50 percent occupancy limits will end at restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues -- and at indoor events like weddings and funerals.

 

Governor Gretchen Whitmer made the announcement last Thursday. She says it is a day everyone has been looking forward to.

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Could the federal unemployment bonus be a thing of the past here in Michigan?

 

Along nearly a party line vote Thursday afternoon the State House passed a resolution that would end the weekly federal COVID unemployment payments of $300. It will now move on to the Senate -- which like the House -- is controlled by Republicans where it's expected to pass.

 

But Governor Gretchen Whitmer has said she would veto that bill.

 

Opponents of the continued federal payments say the money is incentivizes people not to work which has left employers unable to fill open positions.

 

Proponents of the payment said it's not fair to punish those who lost their job through no fault of their own.

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The 2021 application period for the Ice Mountain Environmental Stewardship Fund is now open and will close on July 15.  

 

The Ice Mountain Environmental Stewardship Fund was established through Fremont Area Community Foundation in 2002. Grants awarded through the fund help sustain the waters and water-dependent natural resources of the Muskegon River by supporting conservation, enhancement, and restoration projects. The fund provides up to $50,000 annually and typical grants range from $5,000 to $20,000.  

 

Grant requests are accepted for projects or programs which conserve, enhance, or restore the Muskegon River watershed. Since 2002, the fund has provided grants to support projects including streambank stabilization, rain garden creation, site clean ups or enhancements, erosion control construction, and education, to name a few. In 2020, grant recipients included:   

 

  • Mecosta County Park Commission, which received funds to stabilize over 500 feet of eroding streambank along the Muskegon River at the Davis Bridge boat launch.  
  • Grant Public Schools, which received a grant to help educate students about careers related to the environment and empowering them to become community ambassadors. 
  • Mecosta Conservation District, which received some funding to help support the annual Household Hazardous Clean-Up event that provides a safe method for residents in Mecosta, Osceola and Lake Counties to dispose of toxic and hazardous products.  
  • The Muskegon River Watershed Assembly received a grant to help educate landowners on erosion control techniques that minimize pollution and help keep the waterways healthy and vibrant. 

 

Projects considered for grants must be located within the Muskegon River Watershed, which is one of the largest watersheds in Michigan at over 2,700 square miles. The application period for 2021 is from June 1 through July 15, 2021. Recipients will be notified by the end of the year and funds will be distributed in early 2022.  

 

For more information about the Ice Mountain Environmental Stewardship Fund or to begin an online grant application, visit facommunityfoundation.org/icemountain

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You better take it easy with your speed on Michigan freeways this weekend .

 

Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office, the Big Rapids Police Department, and the Ferris State University Department of Public Safety are taking part in a multi-state crackdown on speeders. 

 

t's all part of the"Great Lakes, High Stakes" campaign as more than 30 municipal, county and Michigan state law enforcement agencies will focus on speeding drivers between Saturday and June 27.

 

The Michigan and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is partnering with five other states on the campaign.

 

The Michigan office says there have been more traffic fatalities with one thousand 83 last year, a 10% increase from 2019 even though the number of crashes was down.

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Beaumont Health and Spectrum Health, two of the most respected health systems in Michigan, announced today they have signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to explore creating a new health system. Leaders from Beaumont Health and Spectrum Health believe that creating a new Michigan-based health system will build a stronger future that provides more accessible, affordable and equitable health care and coverage for people across the state. Priority Health, Spectrum Health’s top-rated, Michigan-based health plan, will also be part of the new system.
 

“Beaumont Health and Spectrum Health are leaders in our respective markets, and by bringing together our organizations to create a new system, we have the opportunity to deliver greater value in high-quality and affordable health care to our communities,” Spectrum Health President & CEO Tina Freese Decker said. “Together, we can provide a more personalized experience that prioritizes individuals’ health while also attracting and retaining great talent to our vibrant communities.”

Beaumont Health Board Chair Julie Fream said, “As health care continues to evolve, there are a number of factors that proactive health systems must consider as they plan for the future. Beaumont Health has found a great Michigan partner in Spectrum Health, and together, we are uniquely positioned for success. As a new organization, we will provide Michiganders an enhanced, high-quality health care and coverage network built for them.”

 

The organizations have shared goals for the new system, including:

 

  • Improving health and health equity: Providing exceptional, equitable care and service to all patients and health plan members will always be at the center of the system’s work.

 

  • Enhancing the consumer experience: Making the experience easier for patients and members will include investing in new digital technologies and providing services in more convenient ways such as virtual and in-home care.
     
  • Improving health care quality, value and outcomes: Creating a new health system, which includes the nation’s third-largest provider-sponsored health plan, Priority Health, will allow for the development of and investment in innovative solutions that improve health care and coverage for all Michiganders.

 

  • Making health care more affordable for the communities we serve: Bringing together the strengths of Spectrum Health and Beaumont Health will improve efficiency and deliver affordable, high-quality care and coverage across the state.
     
  • Ensuring the voices of team members and physicians are heard: Gathering the input of physicians, nurses and other team members who are closest to patients will be critical to realizing the mission and vision of the new organization. The new organization will also foster a culture that attracts and retains top health professionals to live and work in Michigan.
     

Spectrum Health and Beaumont Health have also developed five guiding principles that will guide the creation of the new organization. The principles are outlined in a letter to the community.

The new organization will be governed by a new systemwide Board of Directors. The 16-member Board will include: seven seats appointed by Beaumont Health, seven seats appointed by Spectrum Health, the President & CEO of the new system, and a new Board member to be appointed following the creation of the new system. The Board will include at least three physicians. The temporary legal name of the new organization will be “BHSH System.”

 

The new health system will be led by Tina Freese Decker, the President & CEO of Spectrum Health. The first Board Chair will be Julie Fream, the Board Chair of Beaumont Health. John Fox, President & CEO of Beaumont Health, will help ensure a successful transition to the new health system. Following this transition, he plans to leave the organization. A thorough process will be developed to identify and select the BHSH Beaumont Health president.


The new organization will operate 22 hospitals and 305 outpatient locations, with more than 64,000 team members, including more than 7,500 affiliated, independent and employed physicians, more than 3,000 affiliated, independent and employed Advanced Practice Providers, and more than 15,000 nurses. The new system will operate dual headquarters in Grand Rapids and Southfield, and the President & CEO and senior executive leadership team will spend time on both sides of the state. 

 

 

Beaumont Health and Spectrum Health are strong brands in their respective markets. There will be no immediate changes to the legacy brands. Those names will remain in their local markets pending adoption of the overall branding plan by the System Board. The new BHSH System will work together to determine a path forward that honors both legacy brands and will engage physicians, team members, donors and the community in that process.

 

Local fiduciary boards with committed community board members will remain in place to provide governance and leadership to the BHSH Beaumont Health, BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan, BHSH Spectrum Health Lakeland and Priority Health divisions. Each board will retain local governance oversight over key areas unique to the communities they serve.

 

“Our organizations share complementary strengths in areas such as quality and have similar missions, visions and values,” Beaumont Health President & CEO John Fox said. “We also both have deep relationships in our communities that are built upon providing excellent care and service. Together, we can leverage both of our strengths to further our focus on providing exceptional care for our communities.”

 

Spectrum Health Board Chair Robert Roth added, “Spectrum Health has a proven track record of successful integrations and partnerships that improve quality and access to care and coverage, while maintaining important local relationships with physicians, donors and community members. Our ultimate focus is ensuring high-quality care for patients and members that is sustainable for today and tomorrow, and we are confident that creating a new system with Beaumont Health will achieve that goal.”

 

As this process continues to evolve, Spectrum Health and Beaumont Health patients, members and communities will continue to receive exceptional care from physicians and teams they know and trust.
 

Beaumont Health and Spectrum Health hope to complete this process, which is subject to the execution of an integration agreement and applicable regulatory reviews, this fall. 

 

A letter to the Beaumont Health and Spectrum Health communities, as well as updates on this process, is available here: www.formichiganbymichigan.org.

 

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Could a potential merger between West Michigan health care provider Spectrum Heath and Southeastern Michigan's Beaumont Hospital be on the horizon? 

 

An article published late Wednesday night by Deadline Detroit's Eric Starkman says a potential announcement could come as soon as today. 

 

According to Starkman, Beaumont spokesman Mark Geary ignored a request for comment. Spectrum spokeswoman Ellen Bristol Wednesday morning said she would “look into” whether a merger was imminent, seeming to indicate Deadline Detroit’s inquiry was the first she’d heard of a potential deal. She never followed up with a comment.

 

Big Rapids Daily News will update this article as more details become available. 

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Two Ferris State University residence hall sites find contractors engaged in significant activity as the campus profile changes ahead of the $29.5 million Center for Virtual Learning construction.

 

Physical Plant Senior Project Manager Joe Haupt said Vandercook Hall is the current focal point as summer begins. However, work began before the 2020-21 academic year ended to prepare Taggart Hall for demolition.


“In April, contractors were moving through prep work from the upper floors downward, such that activity in June will be based in the first floor of that building,” Haupt said. “Their abatement tasks will continue through the lowest levels of the building, ahead of the demolition crews’ advance to bring Taggart Hall down.”

 

Haupt said since students and staff were living in Vandercook Hall until the first part of May, all grounds work and other efforts had to wait, but most of the contractors involved in abatement are now on the job of demolition preparations at that site.

 

“The process for abatement in Vandercook follows the same pattern as in Taggart, and the removal of infrastructure there will not be as extensive,” Haupt said. “To follow our schedule for site development, as it relates to the CVL construction project, we intend to have Vandercook Hall razed by early July.”

 

Haupt said they expect to have Taggart Hall demolished by the first week of August.

 

The Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget is currently following a review process on plans for the Center for Virtual Learning, which will be located at the Vandercook site between Hallisy Hall and the Ferris Library for Information, Technology and Education (FLITE). The Center for Virtual Learning development has $22 million in state of Michigan funding as a Capital Outlay Project, and Haupt said that government approval of their drawings is required accordingly.

 

“Once the DTMB concurs, our construction management firm can solicit estimates on project pricing,” Haupt said. “The best-case scenario for this aspect of the project would see negotiations wrapped up by the end of July, with awards made to subcontractors almost immediately thereafter.”

 

Haupt said their optimal timeline for developing the Center for Virtual Learning would find the foundation for the center laid before students return to campus for fall classes. He said the work to create a green space on the Taggart Hall parcel is sufficiently set back from South and State streets that it will not restrict campus vehicular traffic.

 

“Even in the Center for Virtual Learning construction area, we do not anticipate needing to close North Campus Drive for north or southbound travel,” Haupt said. “There may be days where partial closure is required when we reach the point of demolition on those higher sections of Vandercook Hall so that safety is assured for motorists and contractors.”

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Republicans in the state Senate have passed legislation to require photo ID's to vote in person --- and added identity requirements for people who want to vote by mail.

 

The bills are among several measures to tighten voting rules.

 

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has said she would veto the bills if they reach her desk, but the GOP could sidestep her by enacting ballot proposals.

 

Michigan voters without a photo ID can sign an affidavit to vote.

 

Under the legislation, they'd vote a provisional ballot and would have to later verify their identity for it to count.

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As COVID-19 vaccination rates declined across District Health Department #10’s (DHD#10) jurisdiction, a survey was created to understand vaccine hesitancy within the communities and to increase vaccination rates. This survey allowed participants to identify their main concerns about receiving the vaccine or identify concerns they may have heard from others in the community.  

 

The survey was sent out to the public around the first of May 2021. Nearly 300 responses were received within the first week of sharing the survey, with a grand total of 349 responses received when the survey closed at the end of May. Approximately two-thirds of respondents had already received the vaccine but were willing to share what they heard in their community about why others were not receiving the vaccine. Approximately one-third of respondents had yet to be vaccinated. The following is a snapshot of the responses received from the survey (infographic also provided below): 

 

  • When asked why individuals did not receive the vaccine, the following are the responses: 
    • Those who were vaccinated responded that they overheard others saying the following: 
      • 61% - COVID is no big deal 
      • 69% - are concerned about side effects 
      • 70% - said vaccine development was too quick 
    • Those who were not vaccinated responded with the following: 
      • 18% - COVID is no big deal 
      • 58% - are concerned about side effects 
      • 60% - said vaccine development was too quick. 
         
  • When asked what would make them more likely to receive the vaccine, 66% of those who are unvaccinated responded with “Nothing” and 34% responded with “Other” and wrote in the following reasons: 
    • Further research 
    • A requirement for employment or activities 
    • Convenience 
       

“This survey gives us valuable insight into some hesitancies people in our jurisdiction have about getting the COVID-19 vaccine,” stated DHD#10 Health Officer Kevin Hughes. “As more research is presented on the effectiveness of the vaccine, individuals will have more concrete information from which to make an informed decision."  

 

This survey also gathered input on where clinics should be held in the community and the preferred clinic times. This information was collected, and DHD#10 was able to transition to hosting pop-up community clinics at various locations provided by participants. This survey also influenced DHD#10 to implement longer clinic hours on each Tuesday of the month. Pop-up clinics and adjusted hours help to increase the accessibility of the covid vaccine. 

 

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The Michigan Secretary of State added 350,000 appointments at branch offices to clear a 13-month backlog of appointments.

 

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said a switch to an appointment-only system aimed to get people in and out of offices faster.

 

Half of the new appointments are already available, and appointments from the other 175,000 will be added to the system each week as next-day appointments, officials said. Those appointments come online each day at 8 a.m. and noon.

 

Appointments can be made online, through the call center (888-SOS-MICH) or in person at a secretary of state branch.

 

There is also a SOS self service kiosk at the Meijer store in Big Rapids for renewing registration, adding motorcycle endorsement and renew license/ID if photo isn't required.

 

For more information about online services and what other services the SOS offers CLICK HERE

 

 

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A 41-year old woman is behind bars awaiting arraignment for charges connected to an alleged stabbing Monday afternoon.

 

Officers with the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety were called to the 500 block of S. State St. for a possible stabbing. When they arrived to the scene, they found a 35-year old man with a stab wound to his upper chest. He was taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

 

A 41-year-old female on scene was identified as the suspect and was taken into custody.

 

She was taken to the Mecosta County Jail and will be arraigned by the 77th District Court.

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Areas across Michigan, including Northern Michigan, are seeing an explosion of tick activity this year. As the weather becomes nicer and people head outdoors to enjoy nature,

 

District Health Department #10 (DHD#10) reminds everyone to exercise proper precautions to prevent human-tick interactions.   

 

 

Proper precautions include: 
 
  • Being aware of your surroundings. Most tick encounters happen in shady, moist wooded and grassy areas and fields near wooded areas.  
  • Applying EPA-registered insect repellent that contains 20% or more DEET, picaridin, or IR3535, to skin or clothing according to label’s instructions.  
  • Wearing clothing that has been treated with permethrin. 
  • Walking in the center of trails and avoid walking in areas with tall grass and brush. 
  • Conducting a full-body check of yourself and your pets for ticks after spending time outdoors.  
  • Drying clothing on high heat for 60 minutes to kill any remaining ticks. 
  • Taking a shower as soon as you can after coming indoors. 
  • Talking to your vet about tick bite prevention products for your pets.  

 

 

Michigan also offers tick identification resources to residents and visitors for free. Physical ticks can be placed in a container and mailed to MDHHS, or photos may be submitted to MDHHS-Bugs@michigan.gov 

 

Questions regarding ticks and other vectors should be directed to DHD#10’s Environmental Health Division at 888-217-3904.  

Additional information regarding ticks and Lyme disease can be found here: 

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A woman driving a Winnebago RV is facing charges after she struck two police cruisers and four cars on Saturday -- as one point going the wrong-way on U.S. 131.

 

A Kent County sheriffs deputy was injured after colliding with a pickup truck near Cedar Springs.

 

The injuries were minor.

 

The Winnebago struck at least four vehicles while going the wrong way. No injuries were reported to people in the cars.

 

Police say a search of the RV found several large electronic items believed stolen from a Walmart store in Mount Pleasant.

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Police believe alcohol and speed were factors connected to two separate accidents involving a White Cloud woman.

 

Mecosta County Sheriff deputies were called to a hit and run accident on 15 Mile Rd near Oakwood Dr in Big Rapids Twp late Friday afternoon.

 

That's where a 17-year old woman from Big Rapids was rear-ended by a vehicle driven by a 47-year old White Cloud woman.

 

The 47-year old driver then fled the scene and crashed a mile down the road after she had loss control and overturned. The White Cloud woman was taken to Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital for minor injuries.

 

The Big Rapids female was uninjured.

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There was a small scare in the city of Evart Thursday evening as a gas leak shut down a part of the area.

 

It happened around 5pm, when the Evart Fire Department received a call that a construction crew hit a gas pipe at Hemlock Street and Fifth Street.

 

The crew was surveying the area to put in internet cables when they struck a two inch pipe.

 

Members of DTE Energy came on scene to shut off the pipe and assist the fire department.

 

The leak was under control within two hours of the initial call.

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Congressman John Moolenaar has signed on as a cosponsor of the Gigabit Opportunity Act, which would create opportunity zones in low-income rural and urban areas that currently lack the federal minimum broadband service.

 

States would designate the opportunity zones in their state and tax incentives would be provided for the companies that build broadband Internet service in those area.

 

“Many rural communities in Michigan lack the infrastructure necessary to provide access to broadband service, making it more difficult for students to do homework and for seniors to access telemedicine,” said Moolenaar. “This new legislation complements my efforts to expand broadband access through the BOOST Act, and it would encourage providers to build more broadband infrastructure in our rural communities.”

 

The Gigabit Opportunity Act complements the BOOST Act, which Moolenaar introduced earlier this year.

 

The BOOST Act would allow rural homeowners and primary lessees to claim a $300 tax credit after purchasing a mobile hotspot they can use to connect to the Internet or a signal booster they can use to increase the speed of a slow connection. Both the BOOST Act and the Gigabit Opportunity Act apply only to areas where Internet connection speeds are below the federal minimum standard of service, which 25 megabytes per second for downloads and 3 megabytes per second for uploads.

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A Stanwood man is recovering following a one vehicle crash in Mecosta County.

 

It happened Tuesday evening around 6:30pm, deputies say a 20-year old driver was traveling 11 Mile Rd near 215th Ave. when he ran off the road, struck a ditch, over-corrected then struck a tree and went down an embankment.

 

The Stanwood man was taken to a local hospital for minor injuries where he was treated and later released.

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The manhunt for a man wanted for a murder near Mount Pleasant is over.

 

40-year-old Isaiah Gardenhire turned himself in early this morning after he had traveled to the Flint area in a stolen Ford Fusion.

 

He called a tv station there and said he wanted to turn himself in and police negotiated him to do that.

 

Gardenhire was wanted for a murder and sexual assault early Sunday morning in Union Township.

 

State Police say a juvenile female was stabbed and later died and a woman was sexually assaulted.

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Michigan’s Attorney General is working to make sure a rate increase from DTE is reasonable.

 

Dana Nessel is urging the Michigan Public Service Commission to significantly cut a rate increase request from DTE. In February, the Attorney General intervened in the company’s filed rate case as an advocate for the utility’s natural gas customers across the state.

 

The company requested a $195 million increase, which would represent a greater than 11% increase for residential customers. Nessel filed testimony back on June 3 and argued the requested increase is unreasonable. She says any increase must remain moderate.

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