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BigRapidsDailyNews : Breaking News

Ferris State President issues statement regarding Gotion project rumors

On the heels of an informational panel meeting on April 5th at the David L. Eisler Center regarding advanced battery components manufacturer Gotion Inc potentially coming to the area, rumors have been spreading locally. 


One rumor of note is that between '200-500 Chinese nationals are coming to Big Rapids and to be housed on the campus of Ferris State University'. 


Ferris State University President Dr. Bill Pink heard these rumors and issued a video statement on Ferris' YouTube page on Thursday. 


In the video, Pink says he  was recently made aware of certain things that have been said about Ferris State University and these things are at best rumors and at worst just falsehoods.  


"I heard a falsehood just last evening that had to do with our university housing and planning to house, I believe it was said "300 Chinese nationals who will be working for this company." Pink said in the video. "First of all, one of the best things about hearing things is to find out if you're hearing it first, second, third, fourth or fifth hand. Let me give it to you first hand, because these kinds of things are not approved without me being the one saying 'yes'.  As president of this university, I can tell you that no one from Gotion Inc has had a conversation with me about asking Ferris State University to house anyone on this campus. I've had no meetings. That's your first hand account." Pink said in the video statement. 


The panel meeting on April 5th at 6:30pm will feature representatives from a variety of fields including, roads, fire/hazmat,energy, waste, water and representatives from Gotion Inc., Ferris State University and the Right Place economic non-profit organization. 



Safe gun storage bill passes in Michigan House

The Michigan House of Representatives passing legislation last night that would implement safe storage requirements for firearms in order to prevent youth from accessing a firearm.


The bill passing in the Democratic-led House by a 61-to-47 margin -- with five Republicans voting in favor of the bill.


The firearms, under the law, would need to be unloaded and locked with a trigger-locking mechanism or stored within a locked storage container.


If a minor obtains the firearm and the individual didn't comply with the safe storage law, the gun owner could face a misdemeanor charge of up to 93 days in fail or a $500- dollar fine.

Catfishing mom in Isabella County pleads guilty

The mid Michigan mom accused of faking her identity online or catfishing her own daughter, pleaded guilty to two charges in a plea deal.


Kendra Licari had harassed her own daughter and her daughter's boyfriend with hundreds of harassing text messages for more than a year. Her daughter attends the Beal City Public Schools.


Police say Licari would hide her identity and location with fake IP addresses and tried to make it seem like another student was sending the messages.


In the plea deal, three charges were dropped. Licari faces up to five years in prison.

Reed City Police Blotter: 3/13-3/19

Officers were dispatched to a residence after a 911 call was placed about a family member being aggressive. After arrival, situation was de-escalated, and everything was fine.

Tuesday …3/14
School Liaison Officer confiscated a vape pen from a High School student and issued a citation. Charges have been requested on a second student for providing the vape device to a minor.

School Liaison Officer assisted in transporting a juvenile for a mental health evaluation.

An Officer served an abatement notice regarding trash stored in violation of city ordinance.

An Officer responded to a car vs. semi crash. There were no injuries and only minor damage to the vehicles.

Wednesday …3/15
School Liaison Officer was dispatched to assist with a special needs juvenile that was being assaultive
toward staff members.

An officer transported a man to the RCH for a mental evaluation after calling into the police department and showing signs of instability.

An officer was dispatched to a house for a wellbeing check, from where dispatched received an unusual phone call. The woman was transported to the RCH for a mental health evaluation.

An officer was dispatched to a home regarding unlawful entry of an intoxicated man who was known to the homeowner. Charges have been requested in the matter.

Thursday …3/16
An officer took a report for a minor accident in a parking lot. No injuries reported.
A report was taken on a 2-car private property accident. There were no injuries and only minor damage.

Officers took a report of threats and harassment by a coworker of the complainant. The matter is under investigation.

Officers transported an individual to an out-of-town mental health facility for inpatient treatment.
The liaison officer issued a citation to a juvenile in possession of a vape device. This was the second offense.

Friday …3/17
An officer assisted Big Rapids PD in serving a court subpoena on a local resident.


Officers took a report of slashed tires. The investigation revealed it to be an angry ex-boyfriend. The matter has been forwarded to the prosecutor for charges.

Officers took a report of a 2-car private property accident. There were no injuries and only minor damage.

An Officer was dispatched to a call regarding an internet scam. The individual was led to believe he was online dating. The woman asked for money to come and see him and was told he did not have the money. She then advised she was coming to see him but called and stated she had been kidnapped and he needed to pay the ransom. Investigation revealed the woman not to exist and none of the information given to the man to be true.

Saturday …3/18
An Officer conducted a traffic stop of a car that was dragging something and causing sparks on the road. After investigation the plate was found to be expired. A citation was issued.

An Officer was dispatched to an establishment in town where an individual was intoxicated and had been inside causing a disturbance. The 28-year-old woman was arrested for violating her probation by drinking alcohol.

Sunday …3/19
An Officer assisted OCSD with an arrest of an individual after being pulled over while driving intoxicated.

An Officer noticed trash left out by the road. After investigating, turns out the family moved out and left the trash behind. Contact with landlord/owner to be completed.

Michigan State Police warn of statewide 'spoofing' scam

State Troopers don't want you to get ripped off.


Be on the lookout for a call from the Michigan State Police informing you of an investigation.


The con-artists will say if you want to stay out of jail, you'll need to send them money. The trick is that the phone number looks like it's coming from an official source. However, the scammer is actually 'spoofing.'


Lt. Derrick Carroll with the State Police says they we will never ask for money over the phone or to be sent in the form of gift cards or through a third-party money transfer service including.


If you get this call, hang up and notify your local Michigan State Police post.

5-year old child struck by vehicle in Aetna Township

A 5-year old child is in critical but stable condition after being struck by a vehicle in Aetna Township, Tuesday.


The Mecosta County Sheriff's Office said a vehicle driven by a 70-year old Morley man was traveling on 180th Ave South of Washington Rd when the child had been on the side of the roadway and when the vehicle approached the child ran into the road and was struck. 


The child was taken to Devos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids for injuries sustained at the scene.


As of 9:30pm last night, the child was listed in critical but stable condiditon.  

BR Commissioners provided update on Roben Hood Runway extension

The Big Rapids City Commission was provided an update on the runway extension at Roben Hood Airport. 

The extension would be from a 4,300 foot runway to a 5,000 foot runway. 

Airport Manager Steve Schroeder told the commission its been a process but he's hoping to get a to a resolution sooner than later. 

"I was hoping to come before you with really good news from the FAA and that everything is a green light however I haven't gotten that call but I think that will come at any day now." Schroeder said.  

Schroeder told the commission there were a few hiccups but everything is up to date on the process. 

"We did a justification study back in October, we then had to make some revisions and then resubmitted in November and the FAA then justified the $1.8 million dollar earmark." 

"We were still $1.2 million dollars short, so we went back to the drawing board and got an excellent letter of support from Ferris State University President Dr. Bill Pink's Office explaining the benefits this extension would provide to them from academics to athletics and alumni coming in. " Schroeder said. 

He said the letter was sent to the FAA on March 16th and he heard from MDOT on Monday, so they are now just waiting on the FAA to make its decision in regards to the rest of the funding. 

Schroeder added they have a short timeline when it comes to its environmental assessment which takes 12 months to complete. He also said he hopes to get contracts to commissioners for construction within the next couple of meetings so they can start in 2024. 









Two children die in Wexford County vehicle/ buggy crash

Two children have died in an Amish buggy accident.


It happened Monday morning in Cedar Creek Township, north of Cadillac. A horse drawn buggy crossed traffic and was hit by a vehicle.


An 11-year-old girl and 7-year-old boy were ejected from the buggy and died on the scene.


Deputies say a 9-year-old was airlifted to Devos Childrens Hospital in Grand Rapids. They were listed as having serious injuries.


The Wexford County Sheriff's Office notes the driver and passengers were not hurt, and speed is not believed to be a factor.

Big Rapids City Commissioners to discuss airport runway extension and review city charter

The Big Rapids City Commission meets tonight at City Hall to discuss issues and approve resolutions.


During study session, Commissioners will get an update from Roben Hood Airport Manager Steve Schroeder on the runway expansion and where it currently stands. They will also discuss the the city's charter and possible changes to it.


In general business, commissioners will discuss and act on resolutions including approving grant application submissions for Swede Hill Skate Park and accepting the Drinking Water Asset Management (DWAM) Grant Application. Commissioners will also act on a resolution adopting the City of Big Rapids Economic Development Strategy.


The meeting begins at 6:30pm.


To see other items on the agenda scroll down: 


Act on the minutes of regular meeting of March 6, 2023.
a. Charter Revision
– Tamyra K. Gillis, City Clerk
b. Runway Extension Update - Steve Schroeder, Airport Manager
– None
10. GENERAL BUSINESS. (Regarding public comment, anyone may speak on an item of
general business. Please rise and wait to be recognized.)
a. Grants
i. Resolution Authorizing Submission of a Michigan Department of Natural
Resources (DNR) Recreation Passport Grant Application for the Swede Hill
Skatepark Project.
ii Resolution Accepting the Drinking Water Asset Management (DWAM) Grant
b. Resolution Awarding Bid for 2023 Construction Season Maintenance Materials and
c. Resolution Adopting the City of Big Rapids Economic Development Strategy.

d. Resolution Approving a Third Amendment to Site Lease for Verizon.
e. Resolution on Mayoral Appointments to Boards and Commissions.

*** f. Ordinance Amending Section 50.14 in Title X Chapter 50 of the Big Rapids City

Code of Ordinances – Polycarts.

11. UNSCHEDULED BUSINESS – (Commission Concerns/Reports)
12. WORK SESSION – Ethics Policy – Commissioner Jennifer Cochran

***Agenda items requiring a 4/5 Vote.

Mecosta County Sheriff's Office Blotter: 3/17-3/20



At 1:34pm, deputies made a traffic stop on Northland/Jefferson in Aetna TWP.  The stop resulted in female driver being arrested for Operating While Intoxicated.  She was lodged at the Mecosta County Jail.


Calls for service 12



At 11:30pm, deputies made a traffic stop on Maple/Warren in Big Rapids Twp. The stop resulted in a male driver being arrested for Operating While Intoxicated.   


Traffic accidents 4

Calls for service 14



No reported incidents



At 12:51pm, deputies responded to a domestic at a residence in Morton TWP.   Male subject was arrested after assaulting someone in the residence and making threats to shoot people in the residence.  He was lodged at the Mecosta County Jail.


Calls for service 22

Traffic accidents 2

Car/deer accidents 1

Ferris State celebrates opening of new athletics complex

 Ferris State University officially celebrated the grand opening of the Center for Athletics Performance and Bulldog Arena with a special ceremony held in conjunction with Bulldog Volleyball's alumni game on Sunday (March 19) at the Ewigleben Sports Complex.


A project intended to fortify Ferris' student-athletes and advance its programs into the future, the Center for Athletics Performance was officially approved in February of 2021 as part of a $15.3 million upgrade to the Bulldogs' Athletic Facilities. The upgrades now offer championship-caliber training and conditioning facilities to the nearly 400 Bulldog student-athletes and 17 varsity programs.


Sunday's events included guest speakers such as FSU President Dr. Bill Pink, Athletics Director Steve Brockelbank, Bulldog Football alum and donor Luke Piepkow along with FSU Volleyball head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm, head strength and conditioning coach Andrew Thiede and volleyball student-athlete Syann Fairfield.


Following the speakers, a special ribbon cutting ceremony took place outside the entrance to Bulldog Arena and FSU student-athletes led tours thru the new facility and upgrades in addition to photo opportunities followed by the alumni volleyball match and reception.


The opening of the Center for Athletics Performance and Bulldog Area was part of a multi-phase renovation and construction project which included not only a new and expanded strength and conditioning space, but also a new multipurpose arena and competition space for the volleyball program and practice area for other sports, additional and renovated locker room facilities along with team meeting spaces. Further, the project features a new connector and entrance to athletic facilities and renovations to offices and the sports medicine area.


Along with the Center for Athletics Performance, the new and renovated locker room facilities along with the sports medicine area were opened during preseason camp in August. The addition of office space overlooking the CAP was completed soon after with the construction of the new Bulldog Arena and team meeting spaces finished late this past fall.


Granger Construction oversaw the subcontracting firms, who took up approximately 7,200 square feet of renovation work and the development of nearly 16,000 square feet of new construction to create the Center for Athletics Performance. This work included the new home for the volleyball program, Bulldog Arena, in addition to a new entry and connector space.


The Center for Athletics Performance provides student-athletes with increased space for strength and conditioning, cardio work, training and nutrition.


The Ewigleben Sports Complex was originally constructed in 1974 with the former volleyball arena, which was transformed into the new Center for Athletics Performance, added on in 1982. Ferris State built Jim Wink Arena off the existing structure in 1999 and renovations to the ice arena were last made in 2007. The new Bulldog Arena addition will sit to the east side of the main concourse near both the existing Ewigleben Ice Arena and Wink Arena.

UPDATE: Police in Mecosta County identified woman suspected in incident

UPDATE: Police have identified the woman in question, they thank the public for their help. 



The Mecosta County Sheriff's Office is asking for help to identify a woman, who's accused of being involved in an incident in Green Township.


The alleged incident happened Saturday night. If you know who this person is, contact Sgt. Darcy Mann at 231-592-0150. 



Deputies in Osceola Co. investigating Pine River bus crash

The Osceola County Sheriff's Office is investigating why a school bus with Pine River students crashed Thursday morning in Burdell Twp.


It happened on on 18 Mile Road and 185th Avenue.


Sheriff deputies say the Pine River School Administration was notified immediately and activated their response plan.


At the scene, students reported no injuries initially and were transported to Pine River High School.

Once at the high school, Osceola County EMS began evaluating students that were complaining of injuries or sickness from the crash.


This incident is still under investigation by the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office.

Evart Public Schools put on lockdown Thursday due to threat

It was a scary time for parents and students at Evart High School Thursday as the school district went into lockdown due to a threat at the high school.


Evart High School Principal Jessica Kolenda said in a press release, the district went into lockdown because of a threat of a weapon. In her statement, Kolenda said after being notified of the threat, law enforcement was called. Officers were then able to track the student's movements using security cameras and conduct systematic searches of the building to ensure that the building was safe.


Kolenda then thanked everyone who assisted with the investigation and went on to say in her statement that EPS take these threats very seriously and wants to assure everyone that their first priority in an emergency situation is to ensure that the students are safe and secure end quote.


To read the statement by EHS Principal Kolenda scroll down: 


Ferris State Football National Championship Parade This Saturday In Big Rapids

Ferris State University, in conjunction with the city of Big Rapids and the Downtown Business Association, will hold a special "National Championship Parade & Celebration" honoring the Bulldogs' 2022 NCAA Division II Football National Championship team this Saturday, March 18, in downtown Big Rapids.


All Bulldog fans, supporters and community members are invited to come out and celebrate FSU's second consecutive NCAA Division II National Championship with the Bulldog team and university community.


The parade will begin in downtown Big Rapids on Michigan Avenue at 12 p.m. (ET) and run from the South to North, starting at the Big Rapids Public Library and ending near city hall. Members of FSU's national championship team will be featured in the parade along with other FSU student-athletes and teams, local fire and police vehicles, the FSU dance team, cheer team and more.


Near the end of the parade route, a special recognition and proclamation ceremony will take place in front of Horizon Bank in downtown Big Rapids featuring special speakers such as Big Rapids Mayor Fred Guenther, FSU President Dr. Bill Pink, Athletic Director Steve Brockelbank, head coach Tony Annese and others.


The festivities will continue following the parade until 2 p.m. (ET) and the general public will have an opportunity to greet the national championship team, get autographs, take photos with the national championship trophy and more in the lot near city hall on North Michigan Avenue. The downtown area from Maple Street to Pine Street will be blocked off until the event concludes and local business restaurants and establishments are expected to be open for dining and retail shopping.


All FSU students and campus faculty and staff along with the general public, community members and supporters are invited to attend the parade and celebration to help honor the Bulldogs' back-to-back NCAA Division II National Championship team and staff.


The Bulldogs capped off a second-straight national championship with a decisive 41-14 win over the Colorado School of Mines on Dec. 17 in McKinney, Texas, finishing the year with a 14-1 overall record.

Reed City Police Blotter: 3/6-3/11

The liaison officer gave citations to 3 High School students for vaping on school grounds.

Tuesday …3/7
An Officer observed snow plowed in a manner that blocked the sidewalk in two different locations. Notice to remove the snow were given to both locations.

Wednesday …3/8
An Officer was dispatched to a residence, where a domestic assault had happened the previous night. The caller had found a pistol. After investigation, the pistol is found to be unregistered and charges have been requested on the owner.

Thursday …3/9
The School Liaison Officer was dispatched to assist with a student that was acting disorderly during one of the morning pickups stops. The student attempted to assault the driver and another passenger and damaged the vehicle and another vehicle. The situation was deescalated. Since the juvenile violated probation, he was transported to a detention facility.

The school liaison officer issued a citation to a teen for being in possession of marijuana. Since it was also a violation of probation, her probation officer was notified.

Officers arrested a 44yr old male for absconding from parole and for having an outstanding warrant for failing to appear in court on a traffic violation.

An Officer took a complaint in reference to a possible inoperable vehicle in violation of city ordinance.

Friday …3/10
An Officer took a complaint in reference to a possible inoperable vehicle in violation of city ordinance.

An Officer took a complaint in reference to a possible inoperable vehicle in violation of city ordinance. An abatement notice was served.

An Officer took a report from an individual reporting that some of his property was missing from his vehicle after being towed. The item was located and returned to the owner.

An Officer was dispatched with CPS to a residence regarding a domestic dispute between mother and son. Charges have been requested on both.

An Officer responded to a call about a male hanging out at an apartment complex. The individual had nowhere to go. The responding officer contacted the individual and after investigation, the officer took him to a safe place to spend the night.


An Officer responded to the Reed City Hospital out of an abundance of caution since an assault victim from another county was being treated and the suspect had not been located. Once the victim was transferred out to another medical facility the officer cleared without incident.

Saturday …3/11
Officers served a trespass notice on a male following a prior disturbance at an apartment complex. He was advised if found on the property he could be arrested for trespassing.

The Making of a State Champion

For the first time since 1991, a Reed City Coyote outlasted the state’s best on the wrestling mat.

By the virtue of a 5-3 sudden victory in overtime, senior Bryson Hughes defeated Constantine’s Troy
Demas to claim the Division 3 State Championship in the 190-pound weight class.

“(It feels) pretty good,” Hughes said. “It’s a lot and at first, I didn’t know how to handle it.”

Hughes finished his season with a 50-2 record, improving on his fourth place finish a year ago. What
many might not know is Hughes wrestled in the 2022 state meet with an injured shoulder from football.

Following last year’s exit from the bracket, Hughes made a bold claim to his coach that created an
incredible story concluding his career: “We were walking out of Ford Field and he had his arm around me,” Head coach Roger Steig said. “He said ‘Coach, I’ll be back next year with a healthy shoulder and we’ll win this thing.’ It couldn’t have turned out any better.”

When I asked the 2023 State Champion Bryson Hughes about the time he knew he could become a state champion, he mentioned qualifying for states in 2021 as a sophomore and how that gave him the confidence to reach the state’s top mark in 2023.

Hughes finishes his career as a Coyote with 158 wins, which ranks seventh all time in school history.
Along with two state finalist finishes, he also earned three CSAA conference championships and all-
conference honors four times.

While the awards will certainly be remembered, Coach Steig said he’ll remember Bryson by his

“I think that is what made him elite,” Steig said. “He’s not only a very gifted athlete, but he’s extremely
coachable. A good example of this was before the championship match. Back at the hotel, we studied film on the guy he’d wrestle at finals and I gave him a game plan. It was going to change his style and
technique of wrestling at the highest level for a state championship. He was willing to do that and he
couldn't have done any better.”

As an inspiration to many, Hughes’ advice to those that want to reach his accomplishment: Always work.

“It’s gonna be hard. It’s gonna be tough. Never stop working, because one day you will succeed.”

While Hughes’ wrestling career has come to an end, the talented athlete will look forward to his next
chapter after signing with Olivet College to play football; but from now on, he’ll always be remembered as a Reed City Coyote State Champion Wrestler.

MDOT: Signal installation begins next week; road work starts May 8th in Big Rapids


Michigan Department of Transportation officials say road crews will begin phase one work next week on a signal installation on State Street at Gilbert Road. 


It starts Monday, March 20th at 8am and runs through April 7th. 


Phase two, officials say will resurface 5.75 miles of US-131 Business Route and M-20 in the city of Big Rapids which begins May 8th.


This $4.3 million project includes concrete joint repairs, concrete curb and gutter, sidewalks, and the installation of a new traffic signal at State Street and Gilbert Road.


The project is scheduled to be complete by July. 



Stanwood woman struck by vehicle at Coppertop store Tuesday

A 74-year old Stanwood woman is recovering after being hit by a vehicle in the parking lot of the Coppertop store.


Mecosta County deputies say the 74-year old woman was walking back to her vehicle in the parking lot when a 59-year old Morley man pulled into the lot making a U-Turn around the gas pumps and didn't see the Stanwood woman, striking her with his vehicle. 


She was taken to Corewell Health BR for Non-life threatening injuries. 

Local manufacturer to expand and hire more employees

A local manufacturer is looking to expand and hire more people. 

Last week, the Big Rapids City Commission granted a tax abatement for Big Rapids Products properties located at 525, 535 and 625 North DeKrafft Ave over the span of 12 years.  

According to Aaron Thompson, Vice President of Sales at BR Products, the tax abatement will allow for the $3-million dollar expansion to build a new facility for warehousing, packing and inspection. 

“We are looking to expand the DeKrafft Avenue facility to bring more business to Big Rapids.” Thompson said. 

The expansion will also add 60 more new hires to the current 300 employees who already work at Big Rapids Products locally.  

“Big Rapids Products is a vital partner of this community and is very much needed and wanted in our industrial park.” Big Rapids City Manager Mark Gifford told the commission.  

Mecosta County Community Development Director Kelly Wawsczyk added to what Gifford told the commission saying BR Products is a great business for the area.

 “They have gone above and beyond to create a culture that really shows their investment in their employees, between the full benefits package, to an on-site facility to take care of medical needs, cornhole they can play during lunch and a great café that provides fresh made food and a place they can decompress and take a break. When it comes to talent, they don’t struggle with that because they provide such a great culture.” Wawsczyk said. “So filling those new additional positions won’t be an issue.”