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BigRapidsDailyNews : Breaking News

FDA orders JUUL vaping products off the market

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued marketing denial orders (MDOs) to JUUL Labs Inc. for all of their products currently marketed in the United States. As a result, the company must stop selling and distributing these products. In addition, those currently on the U.S. market must be removed, or risk enforcement action. The products include the JUUL device and four types of JUULpods: Virginia tobacco flavored pods at nicotine concentrations of 5.0% and 3.0% and menthol flavored pods at nicotine concentrations of 5.0% and 3.0%. Retailers should contact JUUL with any questions about products in their inventory.


“Today’s action is further progress on the FDA’s commitment to ensuring that all e-cigarette and electronic nicotine delivery system products currently being marketed to consumers meet our public health standards,” said FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, M.D. “The agency has dedicated significant resources to review products from the companies that account for most of the U.S. market. We recognize these make up a significant part of the available products and many have played a disproportionate role in the rise in youth vaping.”


These MDOs only pertain to the commercial distribution, importation and retail sales of these products, and do not restrict individual consumer possession or use—the FDA cannot and will not enforce against individual consumer possession or use of JUUL products or any other tobacco products. 


After reviewing the company’s premarket tobacco product applications (PMTAs), the FDA determined that the applications lacked sufficient evidence regarding the toxicological profile of the products to demonstrate that marketing of the products would be appropriate for the protection of the public health. In particular, some of the company’s study findings raised concerns due to insufficient and conflicting data – including regarding genotoxicity and potentially harmful chemicals leaching from the company’s proprietary e-liquid pods – that have not been adequately addressed and precluded the FDA from completing a full toxicological risk assessment of the products named in the company’s applications. 


To date, the FDA has not received clinical information to suggest an immediate hazard associated with the use of the JUUL device or JUULpods. However, the MDOs issued today reflect FDA’s determination that there is insufficient evidence to assess the potential toxicological risks of using the JUUL products. There is also no way to know the potential harms from using other authorized or unauthorized third-party e-liquid pods with the JUUL device or using JUULpods with a non-JUUL device. The FDA recommends against modifying or adding substances to tobacco products. JUUL users are encouraged to report any unexpected health problems or product problems to the FDA through the Safety Reporting Portal and to seek medical attention as necessary.


“The FDA is tasked with ensuring that tobacco products sold in this country meet the standard set by the law, but the responsibility to demonstrate that a product meets those standards ultimately falls on the shoulders of the company,” said Michele Mital, acting director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. “As with all manufacturers, JUUL had the opportunity to provide evidence demonstrating that the marketing of their products meets these standards. However, the company did not provide that evidence and instead left us with significant questions. Without the data needed to determine relevant health risks, the FDA is issuing these marketing denial orders.” 


Any products subject to an MDO may not be offered for sale or distributed in the United States, or the FDA may take enforcement action. 


In addition to ensuring that JUUL complies with this order, as with unauthorized products generally, the FDA intends to ensure compliance by distributors and retailers. Specifically, the FDA notes that all new tobacco products on the market without the statutorily required premarket authorization are marketed unlawfully and are subject to enforcement action.  


As the FDA has stated in the past, unauthorized electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) products for which no application is pending, including for example, those with an MDO, are among our highest enforcement priorities. Therefore, the FDA encourages retailers to discuss products in their inventory with their suppliers including the current status of any particular tobacco product’s marketing application or marketing authorization. Manufacturers will be the best source of that information and retailers should rely on manufacturers directly to inform decisions about which products to continue selling.

Big Rapids Police Blotter 6/22

40-2201252 @ 6:22pm 300 block Perry Ave, Civil.  Disagreement over poor food quality 


40-2201253 @ 10:26pm 1100 block Maple St.  Suspicious vehicle.  Cleaning services.


40-2201254 @ 10:44pm 600 block S State St.  Emergency activation from door dasher app led to contact with a female.  Her vehicle wouldn't start, and she didn't know what to.  Someone assisted and got her vehicle going and she headed home.


40-2201255 @ 11:24pm 300 block Morrison Civil.  Complainant called stating he had a TV, speakers, table, and gamer chair stolen from his roommates after he moved out. An officer was there on 3/4 and items were there at that time.  The complainant was supposed to return to get his things at that time.  On 6/22, 3.5 months later, he returned, and the door was unlocked, and apartment was empty since it hadn't been tended to in months.  The complainant is blaming his ex-roommate.  Pending further investigation.


40-2201256 @ 12:19am 1000 block Baldwin St Assist Other Agency.  Recovered Chev Tracker UDAA from Allegan County.  Vehicle was processed at BRDPS at the request of Allegan with prints and a receipt recovered. 


Ferris State CAP continues construction

Despite multiple heavy storms hitting the construction site, Ferris State’s new Center for Athletic
Performance has persevered and is still slated for winter 2022 completion.

According to Project Manager Kara Pellerito, the project is currently working on both Phase 1: the new volleyball arena addition, and Phase 2: the lower-level and strength and conditioning center renovation.

Phase 1 is scheduled to be completed by October 2022 while Phase 2 is slated for August 2022. Phase 3, the team room build-outs, will begin in August and are hoped to be completed by November. While there haven’t been any major delays, Pellerito attributed the challenges with deliveries.

“The biggest challenge the project has had is adjusting the construction schedule to accommodate
material and equipment lead times,” Pellerito said.

“This project impacts every student athlete at Ferris. The new strength and conditioning space is
providing a much needed larger area for student athletes to train and the new team rooms will providethe additional space teams need for regular meetings and game film review.”

For more local news, subscribe at and listen in on NewsRadio WBRN on 1460 AM and 107.7 FM.

BR Commission presented options for Hemlock Street repairs


On Tuesday, the Big Rapids City Commission were given a presentation by engineering firm Fleis & Vandenbrink on repair options for Hemlock Street and its culvert.

During the heavy storms and flooding on May 11th, a sink hole was created on Hemlock Street near Michigan Avenue.


During the study session, Todd Richter from Fleis & Vandenbrink told commissioners there are three options to consider for repairs which range in price from $2.5 million dollars to $100,000.

Option one is to replace the culvert and repair the road, option two is to take the culvert out and make it open natural channel into Mitchell Creek and repair the street, the last option is to keep the culvert as is and just back fill the sink hole and repair the road.

Back in April, the engineering firm inspected the culvert at Hemlock Street and identified the condition as poor.

“The structure that is currently there, and I'm not sure the age on it but it is getting to the point where replacement is recommended.” Richter told the commission. “Whether that's tomorrow or 15 years from now is not something we can say.”

Richter added that there was no structural damage to the culvert from the flooding due to it getting clogged up at the beginning of the floods.

Mayor Fred Guenther recommended having a public hearing on the Hemlock Street issue and invite the public and business owners near the area to voice their concerns and ideas.

County marijuana money making an impact

It was just over two years ago when the first marijuana dispensary came to Big Rapids Today, the city has all 12 shops operating in Mecosta County.


The introduction of recreational marijuana has helped Mecosta County in a large way. The county has received over $677,000 in additional revenue from the dispensaries last year.

“My board’s intention is to use the money to do some things to benefit the community at large,”
Financial Administrator Paul Bullock said.

One of the major projects is the new Dragon Trail system. The 47-mile pathway will circumnavigate the Hardy Dam Pond and will be accessible for mountain biking, hiking, running, snowshoeing, and cross- country skiing.

According to Bullock, the county is putting about $225,000 towards the project and will have “over 20
miles of trail built by the end of the summer.”

Along with the trails, the county is also forwarding $100,000 towards generator systems at county parks.

At the four main parks, Paris Park, Merrill-Gorrel Park, School Section Park, and Brower Park, the County Parks Commission will be installing high-powered generators that can help pump water from wells and bathrooms. This will allow the parks to become adequate shelters available for citizens to use in case of events like intensive weather.

A third major chunk of the funds will be approximately $200,000 placed over the next two years towards child hunger. Bullock said this includes a potential partnership with non-profits to propose how the money is spent.

“My board wants to partner with people who are already doing these things and have shown ability and passion for it. Typically, they will already be a 501(c)(3) recognized by the IRS as a non-profit. They’ll give us a proposal for how they will use the money and we will contract them to provide the services.”

Additional funds will be placed into multiple other places, including around $62,000 towards a new
marine boat for the County Sheriff’s Office, up to $60,000 towards additional safety equipment for first responders, and about $50,000 for the local, free medical clinic.

“None of these numbers are graven in stone,” Bullock said. “They’re the working numbers in the vicinity that the board is considering. These numbers are subject to change.”

Mecosta County Deputies respond to two accidents Tuesday

Deputies at the Mecosta County Sheriff's Office responded to two separate crashes Tuesday morning. 


The first involved a motorcycle crash around 6:15am on 205 Avenue and 21 Mile Rd. Deputies say a 42-year old male lost control on his motorcycle having made contact with the road.


He was treated at Spectrum Health in Big Rapids for injuries. Alcohol or drugs were not factors.  


The second crash occured around 10:30am on Pierce Rd near 140th Avenue.


Deputies say a 80-year old Canadian Lakes man was traveling west on Pierce Rd when he left the road and struck a tree.


The driver and his 72-year old wife, the only passenger, were taken to a local hospital for non-life threatening injuries. 

Big Rapids Police Blotter 6/16-6/21


40-2201212 @ 9:16am 600 block Adams Items in the yard knocked over during the storm.

40-2201213 @ 11:14am 600 block Maple St Fail to Pay. Driver attempted to use his credit card at the pump, and it did not work. Contact made and driver returned to pay.

40-2201214 @ 3:59pm 400 block W Pine Civil Female was not allowing male in the residence to get belongings, she has paperwork for the eviction process. He has not moved out yet.

40-2201215 @ 5:37pm 100 block S Michigan Officers observed an open door to the empty building. the building was checked. Contact was made with a keyholder, and the door was secured.

40-2201177 Male was arrested on a witness intimidation warrant.

40-2201217 @ 6:15pm 400 block S. Warren.  Suspicious Situation.  Caller stated that juvenile tried to get into his apartment.  Caller however never saw the juvenile.  Juvenile’s mother contacted and advised.

40-2201216 @ 6:30pm 100 block S. Michigan.  Found set of Ford Keys w/ remote start fob turned into the department.

40-2201218 @ 9:44pm 700 block S State St.  Suspicious Person.  Homeless male was begging customers for money to buy beer.  He was located at State and Woodward and advised to leave customers alone.

40-2201219 @ 10:05pm 800 block N 4th.  Noise complaint that turned civil.  Caller stated that a male had his music loud.  Officer arrived on scene and no music was heard.  Contact was made with the male who would only speak with officers on the balcony.  The caller was upset that the male had called her names.  The male went back into his apartment and shut all the lights off.  He came back with an FTA warrant out of Newaygo.  Newaygo requested an attempt be made in the daylight for officer safety.  

40-2201220 @ 11:08pm Civil at 1100 block Fuller.  Third party called 911 and stated that a male stole a dab pen and smoked it.  Contact was made with pen owner who stated he didn't want the male around. 

40-2201221 @ 1:35am Info Only.  Dispatch advised ref the report of an intoxicated female wandering around State St from Northland Flats.  She was located at Marathon.  She was heavily intoxicated and refused help or a ride back to her apartment.  MCSO later responded to a domestic at that residence and lodged her.  





40-2201222 @ 11:23am 1805 Milton tamper with property. Caller had her sons folding camp chair taken on 6/16 between 1330-1600. She located the chair near the basketball court. After reviewing camera, a large build black male is seen taking the chair to the area by the basketball court. 

40-2201223 @ 2:02pm 400 block Marion Suspicious Caller returned home to find someone messing with the deadbolt on the door. The male then fled north on Marion. He described the male as a W/m 5'7' wearing a blue t shirt and jeans. His roommate also reported damage occurred to two screen doors in May. 

40-2201224 @ 2:17pm Walk in civil. Complainant reported her ex just moved out and took his tv he was allowing her son to use

40-2201225 @ 2:53pm 1100 block Fuller PPDA/fail to report. Vehicle hit a downspout damaging it.

40-2201226 @ 6:07pm 200 block Pemberton Assist.  Caller stated that her daughter had a no contact order with juvenile male after he threatened to kill her at her dad’s house in Reed City.  Caller stated that a judge had singed a court order for the no contact.  She didn’t have paperwork in hand, and nothing was located in LEIN.  A welfare check was done on her daughter at the residence in Reed City and she was fine.   

40-2201227 @ 8:53pm 1300 block Catherine.  Civil disagreement over who cut whose fan power cord.

40-2201228 @ 10:34pm Damascus.  Suspicious.  The church had multiple doors open and unlocked.  Some were propped open as well.  Possibly airing the building out.  Building searched and no one located.  Msg left for Pastor.

40-2201229 @ 2:24am 800 block Country Way.  MIP alcohol/ Tobacco.  Caller stated that 4 juveniles had just jumped the fence.  Juveniles were located and all but one was intoxicated.  15-year-old was driven home to Paris.  16-year-old was cited for MIP alcohol and warned on possession of vape.  Turned over to mom and given the vape.  Another 16-year-old was cited for MIP alcohol and turned over to mom. 17-year-old was driven home and vape pens seized. 



40-2201230 @ 9:23pm Number pulled for lost property. It was found prior to report. 

40-2201231 @ 3:04pm 300 block N State St. A brindle color bulldog mix showed up at the restaurant. He was taken to the shelter after enjoying some ice cream.

40-2201232 @ 8:19pm 300 block Morrison St Assault.  Third party called reference a female swinging a plastic drawer set at a male after he confronted her about sending pictures of their 3-year-old daughter to her ex-boyfriend who’s in prison for CSC 1st.  No assault occurred.  Forwarded for review.



40-2201233 @ 7:46am 600 block Maple St. Officers responded and assisted MCSO Deputies with a domestic that occurred at Ryan’s Creek. The suspect vehicle was found and contact was made with the male. He was lodged by MCSO Deputies for multiple contempt warrants.

40-2201234 @ 6:30am Officer responded to Calhoun Co and picked up a male on his FTA warrants.

40-2201235 @ 10:56am 200 block Woodward Ave. PV/Disorderly. Officers responded to a verbal argument and found that a male had violated his probation by being in contact with and at the residence of a female. He was also found to have a Contempt warrant out of Newaygo Co. He was lodged for the PV and warrants.

40-2201236 @ 2:59pm 600 block Adams. Domestic Assault. Officers responded to a domestic assault and spoke with a female and male. Both advised that they were arguing verbally, and the male attempted to take the car keys. The female attempted to get them back and the male wrapped his arms around her. The female pushed the male’s face away as he let go which caused scratching.

40-2201237 @ 8:17pm 800 block N. Fourth Civil. Female called advising a male was yelling at her from his apartment. Contact made with the male who denied having contact with the female. The male was arrested on his outstanding misdemeanor warrants out of Newaygo County.



40-2201238/1239 @ 7:25am Woodward Ave/ Division St. PDA occurred at the intersection, but vehicles began to leave the scene. All vehicles were located away from the accident scene and the driver was issued an appearance ticket for an expired license and FTY from a stop sign.

40-2201240 @ 11:06am S State St/Perry Ave. PDA

40-2201241 @ 1540 400 block Bjornson St. Found bicycle.

40-2201242 @ 5:55pm 300 block Rose Ave. Civil. Complainant reported civil issues between her and the father of her child. She reported that he was asking for sexual favors in return for her being able to see their son. Male has current custody over their son. The complainant was advised to contact the FOC as well.



40-2201243 @ 7:05am 300 block N Warren Found wallet turned in to DPS.  Returned to owner.

40-2201244 @ 8:32am 300 block N Michigan Ave Assault that occurred between juveniles on 6/3, under investigation

40-221245 @ 12:39pm Prisoner pickup from Oceana County. 

40-2201246 @ 2:53pm 400 block S Third Ave Mental- Female transported to ER for mental health evaluation.

40-2201247 @ 4:23pm Woodward/State PDA Citation issued to at-fault driver for failure to stop in assured clear distance.

40-2201248 @ 12:18am 112 N. Michigan open door found during property checks, building secure, no keyholder.

40-2201249 @ 4:01am 400 block S. Michigan Suspicious resident went to do laundry and found someone sleeping in the basement. Officers found a male sleeping in common laundry room, he advised he stays in apartment 1 but was locked out when he came home last night.

40-2201250 @ 5:07am 1100 block Catherine for a missing juvenile. Caller advised he found his daughter missing from the house at approximately 4:00 a.m.  He advised this is a common occurrence and believes she is most likely with her mother. The caller advised he only wanted the matter documented as the child is supposed to appear at a court hearing today, and he did not want to be held responsible if she is not there. Mom’s car was not at her residence, no one answered the door, and she did not answer the phone when I called.

40-2201251 @ 5:15am 321 Ives Breaking and Entering. Caller returned home to find entry door to the apartment forced open nothing disturbed or missing inside the residence, but someone left a can of roach spray in her bathroom trash can. Believes it may possibly be ex-boyfriend. Incident happened sometime between 2:30pm on 6/21/22 and time of call. Downstairs neighbor heard a loud bang around 1200hrs but did not see or hear anyone around.

Ives Avenue drain project eyeing 2022 bid

After stormwater runoff damaged the current district drainage system, the Mecosta County Drain
Commission is looking to make repairs.

This restoration was petitioned by local property owners and will be funded by the drainage district.
“This is a newly established drain system,” Drain Commissioner Karla Miller said. “The drain will be
engineered to reduce the flow at the outlet and the banks will be hard armored to prevent further

The project is not ready for construction and still needs an easement and EGLE permit approved. Miller
is hoping the project will be out for bid by the end of 2022.

For more daily news, listen in to News Radio 1460 AM, 107.7 FM, or follow online at

Suspect arraigned on charges connected to shooting in Fremont

The Newaygo County prosecutor says a Fremont man was arraigned on four charges on connected to a shooting.


Steven Skinner has been charged with one count assault with intent to murder, one count felony firearm, one count possession of a firearm under the influence of alcohol and one count domestic violence.


According to police, on June 16 at 7:00 p.m., officers responded to a report of a person shot on Main Street in Fremont. The shooting took place in an apartment located in downtown Fremont. Upon arrival officers met with a male victim who sustained a gunshot wound as bystanders were giving first aid.


Officers located the alleged shooter, Skinner, and took him into custody without incident.

Homemade bomb found on side of the road in Newaygo County

The Michigan State Bomb Squad was called to the Newaygo Police Department for a homemade bomb Monday afternoon.

The Newaygo County Sheriff's Office said in a press release a citizen found the device while walking on the side of the road and thought it was a homemade firework and brought it to the Newaygo Police Station.

After officers and deputies checked the device out they called in the MSP Bomb Squad who took it to a secure location and detonated the device.

Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office spoke with the citizen that found the device and located the area that he found it.

Michigan State Police was contacted and responded to the area with a K-9 dog trained in detecting explosives. The area was checked and nothing suspicious was located.


The Sheriff’s Office wants to remind people that if they locate suspicious packages or devices to leave them alone and call 911.


Big Rapids City Commission meeting slated for Tuesday

In their final meeting in the month of June, the Big Rapids City Commission will be meeting on Tuesday, June 21st. 


Commissioners will be discussing and acting on a number of issues.


During its study session, commissioners will be presented with a feasibility study for Hemlock Street repairs from Todd Richter, Fleis & VandenBrink and DPS Police Sergeant Ryan Meyers will present commissioners with a TruNarc update. 


During general business, commissioners will act on resolutions including one that creates an All-Way stop at the intersection of Rust and Escott. Commissioners will also vote to award the following bids;  LaFontaine Group for a new city passenger vehicle, Northern Pump & Well Inc. to repair and inspect City wells #2 and #3 and award a bid to Truck and Trailer Specialties, Inc. for one

6,000-gallon poly storage tank.


Finally, Commissioners will vote on vacating part of the city’s 85-foot-wide utility easement on property west of Rust Avenue.


The meeting starts at 6:30pm at City Hall. 

At home COVID-19 test kits available at local DHD#10 offices

District Health Department #10 (DHD#10) is announcing that all of its offices will be distributing a limited number of COVID-19 home test kits. 


“We are very excited to make our offices a distribution point for take-home COVID-19 tests,” said DHD#10 Health Officer Kevin Hughes. “Testing and vaccination are important steps to keeping our community safe and our COVID-19 infection low. Test kits are limited, but we hope to see you come by.” 


COVID-19 test kits are limited at each DHD#10 office and are available on a first come, first served basis. Individuals are asked to take one kit per person, and up to four kits per household. Each kit has two tests inside and expire January 2023. COVID-19 at-home kits will be available during business hours at the following locations: 


Crawford County 

501 Norway Street Suite # 1 

Grayling, MI 49738 


Kalkaska County 

625 Courthouse Drive 

Kalkaska, MI 49646 


Lake County 

5681 S. M-37 

Baldwin, MI 49304 


Manistee County 

385 3rd Street 

Manistee, MI 49660 


Mason County 

916 Diana Street 

Ludington, MI 49431 


Mecosta County 

14485 Northland Drive 

Big Rapids, MI 49307 


Missaukee County 

6180 W. Sanborn Road Suite #1 

Lake City, MI 49651 


Newaygo County 

1049 Newell 

White Cloud, MI 49349 


Oceana County 

3986 N. Oceana Drive 

Hart, MI 49420 


Wexford County 

521 Cobb Street 

Cadillac, MI 49601 


For those interested in hosting a COVID-19 vaccine or testing clinic at their location, please complete this registration form:  


For those needing a COVID-19 test, DHD#10 is hosting testing clinics at various locations throughout their jurisdiction. Find a testing site near you at You do not need to be a resident to get tested at any of these clinics. COVID-19 testing also takes place at most pharmacies, urgent cares, and your primary health care provider’s office. 


Test kits are available at most pharmacies. Be sure to call your pharmacy ahead of time, as demand is high. If you have a positive COVID-19 at-home test kit, please report it here:   

Employers are critical to our understanding of outbreaks. If you are an employer and would like to report a positive test result from your organization, please do so at:


For more information on COVID-19, visit  

Local air and car shows slated for Saturday

For motor enthusiasts, this weekend will be full of tremendous transportation displays.

Coming first at Roben Hood Airport is a local air show beginning from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The show will
include anywhere from 35-50 planes flying in from all over the state.

“Most of them will be small aviation planes that make every one smile,” Airport Operations staff
member Jeff Bittenbender said. “Sometimes you get something unusual like an old ‘Warbird’.”
The show will include a bake sale being put on the Mecosta County Senior Center as well as a local food truck for viewers to enjoy.

Following on Saturday is CarFest 2022, which is a trophy-eligible car show on Michigan Ave. The show is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for patron viewing, which includes music, food, and a 50/50 raffle. The event is presented and sponsored by the Mecosta County Visitor’s Bureau, River Valley Car Club, and Big Country 100.9FM.

“We are hoping to raise $3,000 for five local charities,” Duey Parsons said. “Our show on Memorial Day weekend cleared $1,800, so we’re about halfway there.”

For interested participants, registration for vehicles begins at 9 a.m. Saturday and the trophy
presentation will begin at 2:30 p.m.


A scheduled “rain date” for weather will be Sunday, June 26.

To follow more event news, subscribe to the Big Rapids Daily News.



Irons man injured in Mecosta Co. car crash

A 52-year old Irons man is recovering following a car crash on Friday in Mecosta County. 


Deputies from the sheriff's office say the driver was traveling north bound on US-131, south of Perry When he ran off  the road. An investigation determind the Irons man fell asleep at the wheel. 


He was taken to Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital for non-life threatening injuries. 

New youth baseball tournaments set for this weekend

In support of Big Rapids travel baseball, there will be five youth tournaments in town this weekend.

Over the span of Saturday and Sunday, over 30 teams will take the diamond from 8U to 14U levels.

According to tournament director Nick Scheible, there are many high-caliber teams travelling in from
afar for the inaugural tournament weekend.

“We’ll have teams from the thumb area, around the Grand Rapids area, up north to Manistee and
obviously our local teams.” Scheible said.

Games will begin at 9am on Saturday and the tournament is estimated to conclude around 5pm Sunday.

The 8U, 10U, and 14U tournaments will be played and hosted at the Big Rapids High School fields, while the 12U games will be at Vogel Fields and 13U at the Industrial Fields.

For spectators, there will be concessions at some locations as well as a couple food trucks around the fields. All the proceeds from the tournament will directly go towards funding local teams the ability to travel and compete.

“There is a lot of really good competition taking place at all levels,” Scheible said. “We’d love to see fans in the stands supporting the kids.”

For questions on the tournament, contact Nick Scheible at 231-287-2354.

Be sure to subscribe for more at Big Rapids Daily News on

Sheriff's Corner: Mental Health needs to be a priority in our communities

On May 27th , our agency with the help of other local law enforcement and first
responders investigated the tragic and savage death of three children, all
under 10 years of age and their mother at the hands of their father and
husband. He presumably shot his two sons and daughter as they sat in their
family vehicle after he had killed their mother inside, before turning the
weapon on himself, attempting to take his own life. He lived and continues to
be in critical condition from the gunshot wound to his head.

Our local tragedy followed the deadly school shooting that killed 19 children
and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, which received national attention.

Following the traumatic event in Texas, immediately gun control became a
focal point of the media and our president, who advised he was going to take
action to prevent another mass shooting. Erroneously, as far as I was
concerned was President Biden, the evening of the shooting, make much of
his speech about gun control and not the devastation of the young lives lost
because of the act.

I believe in the sanctity of our 2nd Amendment. I am a gun owner and would
be regardless of my career in law enforcement. I believe in the right to carry
arms, Gun safety and the respect of them which includes education,
responsible handling and secure storage of, is not gun control.

As we all reel from these two tragedies, I have seen and heard a lot of
pointing fingers about the lack of gun control as being the major cause of
these events occurring. I believe we must look past this thought to what I feel
is more of the forefront of a lot of the violence we are seeing in our society,
and that is the role of mental health in these incidents and other plaguing our
country. Our nation is in the grips of a mental health crisis. We need to start
talking more openly and aggressively begin dealing with the problem before it
negatively impacts someone close to you.

I don’t feel that mental health issues are solely or primarily responsible for the
rash of violence, gun or otherwise, in the United States. I understand it is a
multi-layer and complex issue, driven by a lot of factors, including drug use,
the pandemic, the isolation that came from it and increased exposures of
people to stress and crises in their lives.

I am not writing to say those responsible for such violent acts are “mentally ill”,
but that their mental health at the time of their acts was not on solid ground.
Everyone has times in their lives when they need someone to talk to, and to
have them listen to in their time of need. We just need to be able to recognize

when these people are in a place of despair, reach out to and provide them
resources to help get them in a better place mentally.

According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, approximately 1 in 5
adults in our country experience mental illness, defined as having conditions
that affect a person’s thinking, feeling or mood each year. The pandemic has
made matters worse, with young people increasingly suffering from this also.
During the pandemic, officials warned that COVID-19 could cause an uptick in
violence across our country. There has appeared to be a clear increase in the
number of violent acts across the United States since the onset of the
pandemic. An FBI report released Tuesday revealed a 52.2% increase in
active shooter incidents between 2020 and 2021.

I don’t see where a ban on guns is going to be helpful with eliminating future
acts of violence like the one in Texas and the one in our own backyard. We,
as a nation, need to come together and understand the economic and social
factors that impact the likelihood of a person committing a violent act. We
need to get away from the blame game we tend to have in our society and
look to work together to help one another in a time of need.

The pandemic, an increase in violence, and an increase in prices and the
inability to get basic needs met has been painful, for young and old. Over the
past few years, the mental health conversation, and the push for it has
increased, but the actual mental health of our country, especially of our youth,
has dropped dramatically.

To better our nation regarding mental health and to be able to better help
people we need to prioritize and destigmatize mental health. We must invest
in making mental health accessible for all Americans. That means we should
make mental health foundational to health care and embed it in our
educational curriculum. We cannot lose hope. The mental health of our
community is everyone’s problem, whether it is related to gun violence or not.
This and the drug abuse epidemic closely associated with the acts of violence
we have seen can be improved for the betterment of the citizens of Mecosta

Former corrections officer heading to trial for assault on inmate

An Isabella County judge has ruled there's enough probable cause to send a former corrections officer to trial for assaulting an inmate in the jail.


Last October, Christopher Cluley was charged with two counts of misconduct in office and one count of aggravated assault.


In April 2020, Sgt. Cluley was working in the Isabella County Jail as the administrator in charge when he interacted with an inmate during a cell transfer. Video evidence shows Cluley grabbed the inmate, spun him around and pushed him into the cell door before then pushing him into the wall next to the cell door.


Video evidence also shows Cluley pushed the inmate to the ground, where an x-ray later determined the inmate suffered a fractured left knee. 

Local athletic directors react to conference re-alignment

Change is coming to the Central State Athletics Association.

The conference will be downsizing from 14 teams to 11 teams for the 2022-2023 academic year.
Hesperia, Holton, and Fremont will be departing the league to join the West Michigan Conference,
which includes Hart, Shelby, Montague, Ravenna, Mason County Central, North Muskegon, and

In response to the three schools leaving the conference, the CSAA decided to join the “Gold” and
“Silver” divisions together into one large division. This combination will apply for all sports except for
football, which will keep teams in their current divisions for the upcoming season. Big Rapids, Reed City, Chippewa Hills, Tri-County, Grant, Newaygo, and Central Montcalm will remain in the “Gold” while Morley Stanwood, White Cloud, Kent City, and Lakeview will stay in the “Silver.”

“It’s very difficult to have 11 different schools have a unanimous feel for the direction we should go,”
Reed City Athletic Director Ryan Hansen said. “It wasn’t the perfect process but everyone’s easy to work with. We all gave our opinions and I think we made the best decision we could make for the better of the whole.”

The conference was reportedly looking for suitors to replace the teams, which included interest from
Belding. In the end, the Knight programs decided to stay in the OK Silver and no other teams were suited to fit the conference grouping.

“As far as new teams geographically, there aren’t a lot of teams in the area that would match up in the silver,” Morley Stanwood Athletic Director Dale Rogers said. “There weren’t a lot of gold teams
interested in moving down into the silver for a variety of reasons either.”

This alteration will give some sports like basketball the benefit of a larger non-conference schedule,
while other sports like softball will play more conference contests. The conference is also considering
the addition of “college-like” postseason conference tournaments later down the road.

“Our league has been very creative with scheduling,” Big Rapids Athletic Director Dawn Thompson said.

“We’re going to try to come up with some conference tournaments to give the league an environment of excitement prior to the postseason.”

For more of the inside scoop on the story, copy the link below to hear the corresponding episode from “The West Michigan Sports Show.” The show will also be available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and other popular platforms soon.


Just in: Formal charges announced against man accused of killing family in Austin Twp.

Mecosta County Officials have identified a man accused of murdering his family on May 27th in Austin Township. 


Mecosta County Sheriff Brian Miller and Prosecutor Amy Clapp announced on Wednesday that 51-year old Charles Gillard will face 15 counts in connection to the death of his wife, 40-year old Dawn Gillard and their three young children, 6-year old Kaitlynn, 4-year old Ronnie and 3-year old Joshua on May 27th, before turning the gun on himself. 


Gillard will be charged with the following, four counts of open murder, five counts of felony firearm, three counts of first-degree child abuse, two counts of first-degree child abuse committed in the presence of another child and one count of discharge of a firearm in a building causing death.


Clapp says Gillard will be formally arraigned in the next couple of weeks based on his recovery at UM Hospital in Ann Arbor. 


Gillard faces life in prison, if convicted. 

Big Rapids Police Blotter 6/13-6/14


40-2201186 @ 1:23pm 800 block N State St. Officers received a CPS referral for suspected abuse. Under investigation.


40-2201187 @ 2:36pm 300 block S Third Ave. Officers responded to help locate a juvenile male after he left the residence. He was located and brought back home.


40-2201188 @ 3:00pm 500 block S Third Ave. Officers responded to a failure to pay complaint.


40-2201189 @ 7:57pm Glen Elm/Pere Marquette Traffic Stop led to driver being cited for no insurance.


40-2201190 @ 8:09pm 600 block Osceola Civil between two people over the use of a vehicle.


40-2201191 @ 10:12pm 300 block Morrison Check Wellbeing. Caller advised she had not heard from her brother in 10 Days. Contact was made with him, and he was fine.


40-2201192 @ 2:06am 100 block S Michigan Ave Open door found during business checks no keyholder.


40-2201193 @ 2:45am 100 block S Michigan Ave Another open door found during business checks no keyholder.



40-2201195 @ 7:16am 400 block Rust Ave. PDA vehicle struck parked car, driver identified.


40-2201196 @ 11:08am 400 block W Bellevue St. Found Bike 


40-2201197 @ 12:33pm 1200 block Perry Ave. Found Bike 


40-2201198 @ 12:15pm 500 block Green St. Assist to CPS


40-2201199 @ 2:00pm 200 block Fuller Ave. Attempted B & E- Caller was home alone and heard what sounded like someone trying to break in. When she got to the door an individual described as a husky white male with long brown hair was walking away and possibly got into a white pickup truck. Under Investigation


40-2201200 @ 4:37pm 300 block N Warren Ave. Aggravated Assault- Juvenile was shot in the head with a BB gun by another juvenile after a verbal argument between the victim and another juvenile. The victim was transported to the hospital and the suspect was transported to a juvenile detention facility. Two other juvenile petitions are being sent over.


40-2201201 @ 6:04pm N Michigan/ Hemlock, Traffic Stop/ Probation violation- Male was stopped for no seatbelt and expired plates. Report will be forwarded for review as the driver is on probation.


40-2201203 @10:24pm 1100 block Fuller Ave Mental. Complainant called saying male tried to come in the apartment. The male was located at entrance to a nearby apartment complex stating he was seeing things and hearing voices. He agreed to go to ER for voluntary eval.

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