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Big Rapids Daily News

Mecosta County Sheriff's Office: Weekly Blotter (2/26 - 3/3)

Monday, February 26

  • At 11:33 A.M., deputies made a warrant arrest in Big Rapids Township. A female subject was arrested on a warrant. She was lodged at the Mecosta County Jail.

Calls for Service: 22

Car/Deer Accidents: 1

 

Tuesday, February 27

Calls for Service: 21

Car/Deer Accidents: 1

 

Wednesday, February 28

Calls for Service: 21

Car/Deer Accidents: 1

 

Thursday, February 29

  • At 10:43 A.M., deputies responded to a domestic at a residence in Big Rapids Township. A male subject was arrested for assaulting a female. The male subject was lodged at the Mecosta County Jail.

  • At 1:47 P.M., deputies made a warrant arrest in Morton Township. A male subject was arrested on a warrant. He was lodged at the Mecosta County Jail.

  • At 10:00 P.M., deputies made a warrant arrest at a residence in Aetna Township. A male subject was arrested on a warrant. He was lodged at the Mecosta County Jail.

Calls for Service: 22

Traffic Accidents: 2

Car/Deer Accidents: 1

 

Friday, March 1

  • At 6:32 P.M., deputies made a warrant arrest at a residence in Morton Township. A female subject was arrested on a warrant. She was lodged at the Mecosta County Jail.

Calls for Service: 24

Traffic Accidents: 1

Car/Deer Accidents: 2

 

Saturday, March 2

  • At 7:00 P.M., deputies made a warrant arrest at a residence in Deerfield Township. A male subject was arrested on a warrant. He was lodged at the Mecosta County Jail.

  • At 8:30 P.M., deputies made a warrant arrest at a residence in Austin Township. A female subject was arrested on a warrant. She was lodged at the Mecosta County Jail.

Calls for Service: 27

Car/Deer Accidents: 1

 

Sunday, March 3

Calls for Service: 10

Car/Deer Accidents: 1


Airport improvement discussions on the docket for tonight's Big Rapids City Commission meeting

The Big Rapids City Commission meets tonight, Monday, Mar. 4, at Big Rapids City Hall at 6:30 P.M.

The meeting will have a study session on the updates related to improvements to Roben Hood Airport and the airport's runway by Mead & Hunt and Mike Gormley of Northland Securities.

General business items include resolutions of bids for the following projects:

  • Authorizing a change in the Consumers Energy Standard Lighting Agreement to install a street light at the mid-block of Chestnut Street.

  • Approving authorization for a DNR trust fund grant.

  • Approving a proposal from Fleis & VandenBrink to provide design engineering services for the Depot Trailhead Park Improvement Project.

  • Resolution for mayoral appointments to boards and commissions.

  • Ordinance amending the City of Big Rapids Zoning Ordinance to regulate zoning review and approval of short-term rentals and matters related thereto.

All city commission meetings are available to the public.


MPSC approves $92M rate increase for Consumers Energy electric customers

The Michigan Public Service Commission today approved a more than $92 million increase in rates for electric customers of Consumers Energy Co., including significant emphasis on investments needed to improve reliability (Case No. U-21389).

The $92,009,000 increase is 57.4% lower than the $216 million rate increase the utility sought in its initial application. Consumers later reduced the request to $170.8 million.

A typical residential customer using 500 kilowatt hours per month will see an increase of $1.53, or 1.61%, on their monthly bill.

The company said it sought the increase to cover investments in generation and distribution assets, safety and legal compliance and enhanced technology as well as increased operations and maintenance expenses and increased financing costs.

The company had requested a return on common equity of 10.25% with an overall rate of return on total rate base of 6.11%, and a 51.50% common equity ratio. Today’s order authorizes a rate of return on common equity of 9.9% and an overall rate of return of 5.85% on a jurisdictional rate base of $13,669,075,000.

Today’s order partially approved an investment recovery mechanism proposed by the Company in its efforts to improve the reliability and resilience of its electric distribution system. The Commission directed Consumers to share its distribution investment plans with the Commission and other interested persons as soon as reasonably possible after the date of this order and, for year two, by November 1, 2024.  The order also includes approval for the first year of costs related to a pilot program to relocate overhead distribution ground underground to better understand how undergrounding compares to other approaches to improving reliability.

The Commission also directed Consumers to file detailed information that connects performance in operational metrics to proposed incentive compensation in its next general electric rate case, as individual operational metrics will be scrutinized more critically going forward.

The Commission directed Consumers to conduct a formal optimization analysis of line clearing cycles that factors in customer costs of outages, the costs of service restoration, and the costs of line clearing, including an impact evaluation of more frequent line clearing cycles. The analysis should include issues involving higher contractor costs, added vegetation data, and corresponding reliability concerns regarding the company’s proposed nine-year clearing cycle for 4.8kV circuits. The analysis must be filed by Sept. 3, 2024, in Case No. U-20697.

The order directs Consumers to file a transportation electrification plan in Case No. U-21538 by July 1, 2024, outlining updates of its projections and actual costs of electric vehicle adoption and resulting impacts to its plan. The company must hold at least two public meetings with interested persons regarding the plan. In addition, the Commission directed Consumers to study penetration levels for direct current fast charging (DCFC) electric vehicle (EV) chargers and conduct a load shaping study for DCFC EV chargers as well as Level 2 chargers and evaluate whether it is appropriate for these chargers to have separate tariffs. Consumers must include the results of this evaluation in its next general electric rate case.   

The Commission also directed Consumers to implement a number of equity recommendations, including, among other measures:

  • Providing environmental justice- and equity-related information, such as reliability metrics and investments, in future rate cases and other upcoming proceedings.
  • Developing a way for interested persons to request, safely obtain and use geographic information system data with input of MPSC Staff.
  • Providing a regression analysis in support of reliability investments in the company’s distribution system in future filings.
  • Filing more extensive information in future company reports about human contacts with electric lines.
  • Working with the Commission, MPSC Staff, other utilities and interested persons to begin identifying effective, reasonable and prudent pathways for energy security to prevent heat-related illnesses and deaths in Michigan.
  • Proposing a pilot program in which the utility works with a third-party to provide a resource for medically vulnerable residential customers meeting low-income requirements to help coordinate and maximize the use of utility, city, state, and federal incentives for the installation of household energy waste reduction, solar, and energy storage.
  • Filing a full summary of environmental justice and equity considerations in its next rate case, including a detailed discussion of how proposed environmental changes will both impact customer rates and be implemented on such rates.
  • Engaging interested and affected customers and communities in meetings in future distribution plans so the customer and community needs and concerns can be considered when designing and selecting distribution system programs, projects, and sites.

Intervenors in the case were Michigan Department of Attorney General; Association of Businesses Advocating Tariff Equity; Energy Michigan Inc.; The Kroger Co.; Michigan Environmental Council; Natural Resources Defense Council; Sierra Club; Citizens Utility Board of Michigan; Residential Customer Group; Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association; Michigan Cable Telecommunications Association; Hemlock Semiconductor Operations LLC; Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council; Institute for Energy Innovation; Advanced Energy United; Environmental Law and Policy Center; Ecology Center; Union of Concerned Scientists; Vote Solar; ChargePoint Inc.; Michigan Municipal Association for Utility Issues; Foundry Association of Michigan; Michigan Electric Transmission Company; Urban Core Collective, and Walmart Inc. MPSC Staff also participated.

Consumers’ last electric rate increase of $155 million was approved in January 2023 as part of a settlement agreement.

For information about the MPSC, visit www.michigan.gov/mpsc


Ferris State basketball sweeps senior day with victories; enter GLIAC tournament hosting both Wednesday quarterfinal matchups

Bulldog basketball had nine seniors play their final regular season home game in Wink Arena on Saturday, each earning wins over Purdue Northwest at Wink Arena. For full game recaps, keeping reading below.

 

Ferris State men's basketballposts impressive Senior Day win; Will host Wisconsin-Parkside in GLIAC Quarterfinals

The Ferris State University men's basketball squad recorded an impressive 85-64 win over Purdue Northwest on Saturday (March 2) in the regular-season finale, celebrating a Senior Day win at Jim Wink Arena.

The Bulldogs earned the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference's (GLIAC) #3 seed for the conference tournament and will next host sixth-seeded Parkside on Wednesday (March 6) evening in quarterfinal-round play starting at 7:30 p.m. (ET).

Ferris State honored an outstanding group of six seniors prior to their final regular-season home games and put together a complete performance in coming away with the win, improving to 22-7 overall this year and 12-6 in the GLIAC.

The Bulldogs led for nearly 37 minutes of the game and never trailed, opening up a 32-27 halftime lead before starting the second half in a big way and eventually outscoring PNW 53-37 over the final 20 minutes of play.

Sixth-year senior guard Ben Davidson led the way with 21 points in his final regular-season home game while junior Ethan Erickson notched 15 points and graduate senior guard Amari Lee poured in 10 points for the Bulldogs. Overall, a total of 14 players saw action and 12 scored in the win.

The Bulldogs shot 47.2% from the floor and made nine-of-26 (34.6%) three's along with eight-of-13 (61.5%) free throws on the day. FSU also had a commanding 52-33 rebounding edge and pulled down 15 offensive boards.

Additionally, Ferris State outscored Purdue Northwest 46-28 inside the paint and 20-8 in points off turnovers while totaling 33 fast break points to 25 for the Pride. The FSU bench also came up with 36 points compared to only 27 for the Pride reserves.

On the opposite end of the floor, PNW shot 41.3% for the game and went nine-of-30 (30%) from behind the three-point arc, but only three-of-12 (25%) at the free throw line. The Pride were led by Dalton Gayman with 14 points and 11 rebounds in a double-double showing in additino to 10 points each from CJ Jackson and Kalil Whitehead.

Along with Davidson and Lee, the Bulldogs' other senior standouts who played their final regular-season home games included Dolapo OlayinkaJack AmmermanVejas Grazulis and DeSean Munson. All six will get another opportunity to play at home in the first-round of conference tournament action.

Tickets for the GLIAC Tournament Quarterfinals will go on sale Sunday and can be purchased online at FerrisStateBulldogs.com/Tickets.

 

Ferris State women's basketball wins Senior Day game; Will host Saginaw Valley State in GLIAC Quarterfinals

The nation's 13th-ranked Ferris State University women's basketball squad closed out the regular-season in style on Saturday (March 2), beating visiting Purdue Northwest 81-65 on Senior Day inside Jim Wink Arena.

The Bulldogs earned the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference's (GLIAC) #2 seed for the conference tournament and will next host seventh-seeded Saginaw Valley State on Wednesday (March 6) evening in quarterfinal-round play starting at 5:30 p.m. (ET).

In the Senior Day victory, the Bulldogs' three seniors led the way as FSU closed the regular-season with an impressive 21-4 overall record to go with a 15-3 mark in GLIAC action.

Senior Chloe Idoni notched a game-high 33 points for the Bulldogs, which was her second consecutive 33-point effort, while senior guard Mallory McCartney tallied 15 points, six assists and four rebounds. The squad's third senior, Amaka Unobagha, also scored and dished out a pair of assists in the victory.

Additionally, junior Kadyn Blanchard scored 11 points, grabbed eight rebounds, handed out five assists and recorded four steals in 39 minutes of action.

Ferris State led 23-17 at the end of the first quarter and held a 12-point halftime lead. The lead grew to 13 at the end of the third and FSU closed the game with a 21-18 edge in the fourth to account for the final margin.

Overall, FSU totaled 50 points inside the paint and owned a 24-14 edge in points off turnovers, forcing 17 in the win while coming up with 12 steals. The Bulldogs also posted a 22-4 advantage in fast break scoring.

The Bulldogs shot 56.7% from the floor for the game and made five-of-14 (35.7%) three's along with eight-of-10 (80%) free throws. Ferris State also owned a 34-23 rebounding margin and pulled down 12 offensive boards.

Meanwhile, Purdue Northwest converted 46.8% of its field goals and was nine-of-23 (39.1%) from long range in addition to 12-of-19 (63.2%) at the free throw stripe. The Pride was led by Dash Shaw with 21 points and Cherrell Newsom with 15 points in dropping to 11-17 overall and 6-12 in conference play.

Tickets for the GLIAC Tournament Quarterfinals will go on sale Sunday and can be purchased online at FerrisStateBulldogs.com/Tickets.


Investigation reveals fatal fire in Big Rapids Township Wednesday was set intentionally

After a thorough investigation into the fatal fire reported on Wednesday, Feb. 28 in
Big Rapids Township, it was determined the fire was intentionally set. Further, it has been determined the 69-year-old male, Keith Gale Totten, appeared to have died of natural causes prior to the fire being set. The 32-year-old male’s death was determined to be a suicide.

The Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office would like to assure people there were
no other parties involved and there is no danger to the public.

The Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Michigan State Police Crime Lab (Grand Rapids), Big Rapids Township Fire, the City of Big Rapids Fire, Mecosta Township Fire, Morton Township Fire, the Mecosta-Osceola County Victim Services Unit, the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office Posse, Mecosta County EMS and Meceola Central Dispatch and the Mid-Michigan Medical Examiner Group for the assistance provided throughout the investigation.


High school girls' basketball district tournament begins this week

This week, it's the girls' turn to hit the hardwood in District tournament action. 

The first round of district play will begin Monday, Mar. 4 and will conclude with championships being played on Friday, Mar. 8, Regional contests will range from Monday, Mar. 11 through Wednesday, Mar. 13, and the finals from Tuesday, Mar. 19 through Saturday, Mar. 23.

Here's a look at the area girls' teams in action along with their opening games in each assigned MHSAA district number:

 

Division 1

  • District 2 Quarterfinal - HH Dow High School - Monday, Mar. 4 at 7:00 P.M.
    • Cadillac (13-9) vs. Midland (9-13)

 

Division 2

  • District 35 Quarterfinal - Big Rapids High School - Monday, Mar. 4 at 6:00 P.M.
    • Chippewa Hills (1-21) vs. Ludington (15-7)

 

  • District 35 Semifinal - Big Rapids High School - Wednesday, Mar. 6 at 7:00 P.M.
    • Reed City (12-10) vs. Big Rapids (13-8)

 

  • District 40 Quarterfinal - Central Montcalm High School - Monday, Mar. 4 at 7:00 P.M.
    • Tri-County (6-16) vs. Ionia (9-13)

 

  • District 40 Semifinal - Central Montcalm High School - Wednesday, Mar. 6 at 7:00 P.M.
    • Central Montcalm (9-13) vs. Belding (17-5)

 

  • District 42 Quarterfinal - Newaygo High School - Monday, Mar. 4 at 7:00 P.M.
    • Newaygo (12-10) vs. Sparta (9-13)

 

  • District 42 Semifinal - Newaygo High School - Wednesday, Mar. 6 at 7:00 P.M.
    • Grant (14-6) vs. Comstock Park (8-14)

 

Division 3

  • District 70 Quarterfinal - Beal City High School - Monday, Mar. 4 at 7:00 P.M.
    • Lakeview (10-12) vs. Blanchard Montabella (8-14)

 

  • District 70 Semifinal - Beal City High School - Wednesday, Mar. 6 at 5:30 P.M.
    • Morley Stanwood (17-4) vs. Lakeview (10-12) / Blanchard Montabella (8-14) quarterfinal winner

 

  • District 71 Semifinal - McBain High School - Wednesday, Mar. 6 at 7:00 P.M.
    • Evart (18-4) vs. Farwell (4-16)

 

  • District 72 Quarterfinal - Manton High School - Monday, Mar. 4 at 7:00 P.M.
    • Pine River (8-14) vs. Manistee (9-13)

 

  • District 73 Quarterfinal - Shelby High School - Monday, Mar. 4 at 6:00 P.M.
    • White Cloud (8-14) vs. Shelby (6-16)

 

  • District 73 Semifinal - Shelby High School - Wednesday, Mar. 6 at 7:00 P.M.
    • Hesperia (3-19) vs. Holton (13-9)

 

  • District 74 Semifinal - Kent City High School - Wednesday, Mar. 6 at 5:30 P.M.
    • Kent City (18-4) vs. Grand Rapids Wellspring Prep (1-6) / Ravenna (8-14) quarterfinal winner

 

Division 4

  • District 109 Quarterfinal - Mason County Eastern High School - Monday, Mar. 4 at 5:30 P.M.
    • Baldwin (5-15) vs. Pentwater (14-6)

 

  • District 110 Semifinal - McBain Northern Michigan Christian High School - Wednesday, Mar. 6 at 7:00 P.M.
    • Big Rapids Crossroads (17-5) vs. Coleman (8-14)

 

For more on local tournament coverage, follow along at bigrapidsdailynews.com.

For expanded brackets, visit here: Brackets | Michigan High School Athletic Association (mhsaa.com)


Ferris State Welding Engineering Technology Program assisting Emeriti's Art Production, Deer Moon; headed to Texas in Spring

Ferris State University Welding Engineering Technology students are assisting with the fabrication of “Deer Moon,” a free-standing relief sculpture designed by emeriti professor of Fine Arts Robert Barnum, which is destined for a park and preserve entrance in Denton, Texas.
Barnum has works in various media on display in 11 states. His other Texas project was installed in 2019 at an animal rescue facility in Wylie. The development of “Deer Moon” is somewhere near the halfway point.

“The work becomes more pronounced as we continue in the process of fabrication,” Barnum said. “Getting underway as the big blast of snow came in January complicated our schedule somewhat, but we should have a 14-foot-tall sculpture ready for transport near the end of March.” 

Barnum said this will be his first free-standing relief sculpture project. 

“I have been careful to avoid repeating myself in designing these creations,” Robert said. “This is my first relief sculpture that would not be bolted onto the side of a structure, and I am entering what is very much new ground in terms of a project’s visual nature and use of natural light. I am glad Deer Moon will be a unique and different piece when it is completed.” 

Sophomore Richard Ringl of Detroit has been actively involved in assembly of “Deer Moon,” as a function of his laboratory work. Some of the elements were created in Barnum’s studio in central Mecosta County and sections of half-inch aluminum sheeting have also been cut in the university’s Swan Annex. 

“My classmates use lab time for developing projects they selected, but I asked my instructor to suggest an opportunity so I could meet my requirements,” Ringl said. “I thought I would be involved in a more industrial assignment, but I am having a wildly different experience. I expect to be involved through assembly of the sculpture’s components and their being affixed to a base.” 

A Welding Engineering Technology student is likely to accompany Barnum for the installation of this work, which is due to occur about the time of Ferris’ mid-term recess. 

“It will certainly require use of heavy equipment to put this in place,” Barnum said. “There will be differing sight lines for park visitors to take in, as there is a large tree as part of this work that will impact what passersby see as they enter and exit there. This is a rather large display, standing about 15 feet with its pedestal once we complete installation.”  

Assistant professor for Welding programs and Ferris alumnus Mark Prosser said taking part in the creation of Barnum’s work is a good learning experience for Ring and other Welding Engineering Technology students. 

“As educators, there are components to learning we bring forward to students, involving theory and the application of those ideas,” Prosser said. “Commonplace approaches for a typical welding job do not work every time in this type of project, so we must examine several ways to try and meet the necessary goal. It teaches students how to handle obstacles with confidence and broaden their understanding.” 

Barnum said Deer Moon is designed to welcome guests to this natural area and provoke their thoughts and imaginations for decades. 

“This has been developed to sway with the strong winds that can whip up on the plains in that area,” Barnum said. “We expect our planning in the steps leading up to installing our work will be sufficient to provide visitors an intriguing and welcoming sight for the next 50 years and beyond.” 


Gotion Inc. formally begins county site plan review process

Gotion Inc. yesterday submitted the site plan application for review through Mecosta County for approval and publicly unveiled its latest site plan that includes protecting more than 60 acres for preservation of wildlife habitat and water quality benefits.  

Gotion is seeking a soil erosion and sedimentation control permit through the Mecosta County Drain Commission, as well as the site plan review through the Planning Commission. 

“A tremendous amount of thought and planning went into designing our facility and property, and we greatly appreciate the input from Mecosta County officials as we move forward with the local review and permitting process,” said Chuck Thelen, vice president of Gotion Inc. – North American Manufacturing. “Along with gaining valuable insight from the county, we continue to intently listen to local residents as well. Our ultimate goal is to be great neighbors for people in the region while creating the best working environment for our employees.”

Gotion officials have met extensively with county officials in preparation for the application, and county officials have made several visits to the property. The site plan approval process, administered through Mecosta County, has served the needs of Green Charter Township for more than 20 years. 

Thelen said Gotion Inc. is committed to preserving the habitat of wildlife and water quality throughout the property, consisting of more than 60 acres where local wildlife can flourish. Other key elements of the site plan include:

  • Greatly reducing the amount of water used at the facility. It was originally thought that the facility would use 700,000 gallons per day, but that number is targeted to be significantly decreased due to enhanced reclamation efforts. 
  • Significantly limiting traffic congestion on public roads by constructing an on-site truck/trailer staging area that is sufficient to handle a minimum 50% of anticipated daily semi-tractor traffic.
  • Adhering to a dark sky design to limit the amount of light generated from the facility;
  • Implementing a comprehensive recycling program of raw materials and manufacturing by-product to prevent adverse environmental impacts to the air, sanitary sewer system and ground and surface waters.

“We’re building a state-of-the-art facility in Mecosta County that will nestle into the existing landscape and protect the environment for generations to come,” Thelen said. “Gotion’s environmental and safety record is unmatched, and our mission to protect and preserve the environment is woven into every aspect of the design process. As a lifelong conservationist myself, this is not only a key company requirement but a personal requirement.”

Gotion Inc. will apply for applicable state and federal permits through the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the coming weeks.


Reed City Police: Weekly Blotter (2/19 - 2/25)

Monday, February 19

  • Nothing reported.

Tuesday, February 20

  • Officers were dispatched to a family dispute. Upon investigation, an 11year-old was angry her phone had been taken away and her parent had yelled at her. Officers suggested a course of action to deal with the matter as a family.

  • An officer was dispatched to check on a possible broken pipe at a local business that had flooded part of the building. The officer assisted the business owner in contacting the appropriate people to get the water shut off so repairs could be made.

  • An officer arrested and transported a 21-year-old old male to the Osceola County Jail on an outstanding warrant for failing to appear in court.

  • Officer assisted a woman who came to the department with concerns about her ex boyfriend and unwanted contact. The officer advised on the options available to her.

  • An officer assisted a woman that wanted to report some property that was stolen from the business she owns. Upon investigation it was determined to be a civil matter.

  • An officer responded to an ongoing dispute between landlord and a tenant. No issues.

  • Officers received a call of two young girls in a laundromat disturbing others. The officer attempted to locate the girls to speak with them about being respectful to others but they had left the business.

Wednesday, February 21

  • An officer responded to a call regarding a dog running off the property of it’s owner. The dog owner was found and given a warning.
  • An officer transported a 27-year-old old female from Mecosta County Jail to Osceola County Jail on an outstanding warrant for failing to appear in court.
  • An officer responded to a call regarding a suspicious male sitting at a picnic table in an apartment complex for a long period of time. It was found the man’s car had broken down and he was waiting for his daughter to return home so he could get a ride.

Thursday,February 22

  • Officers responded to a call from a concern person of a woman walking with her child in a stroller down US-10. The woman was found to be out for exercise, walking safely on the road shoulder, and both her and the child dressed appropriately for the weather.

Friday, February 23

  • While patrolling, an officer noticed a business door open. The officer searched the building, secured it and closed the door. The business owner was notified.

  • An officer issued an abatement notice for a trash violation.

  • An officer investigated a possible theft at a local business. Upon investigation no theft occurred.

  • Officers were dispatched to a local business for a disturbance. It was found to be a verbal family dispute between the owners.

Saturday, February 24

  • An officer observed a teen using a vape device. A citation for MIP vape was issued.

Sunday, February 25

  • Nothing reported.


KCAD alum excited to boost Muskegon City Public Art Initiative with project highlighting unity, strength and love

An ambitious public art project in Muskegon representing unity, strength and love – on a large scale -- will get a big boost from a Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University graduate.

Lee S. Brown is preparator at the Muskegon Museum of Art, and the artist behind The PORTAL, which will be the eighth in a planned 10 art installations in Muskegon that are part of the Muskegon City Public Art Initiative.

He also is a 1976 graduate of KCAD’s Illustration program, spending three years at the college back in a day when graduates left not with a bachelor’s degree but rather, as he said, “you came out with your diploma and a bag of art.”

Now, almost a half-century later, he has turned his diploma and bag of art into a long and thriving career as an artist, including his current work as a preparator at Muskegon Museum of Art.

But, The PORTAL, a large standing ring some 45 feet in diameter constructed from some 25,000 pounds of corten-type weathering steel, might be his most ambitious project yet.

Corten steel takes its name as a portmanteau of corrosion resistance and tensile strength. It is a type of steel that’s been around for a century or so and is well-known for its toughness as well as the rich and deep rust color that it develops over time. In fact, the steel doesn’t rust in a detrimental way, but rather the rust color is a protective layer that continuously regenerates.

That regeneration, Brown said, is a metaphor for his adopted hometown of Muskegon.

“The people of Muskegon have big dreams and aspirations,” he said. “This is reflected in the resurgence of the city in the last decade and the energy of its citizens that help spur this growth. I wish to create a monument to and for the city that represents this strength and unity.”

As a circle, Brown added, The PORTAL represents themes such as unity, strength and love, and he said those heading up the Muskegon City Public Art Initiative see The PORTAL easily becoming a destination for those entering marriage, renewing friendships or making positive resolutions.

Because it is public art, The PORTAL will be alight from sunrise to sunset and open for people to walk through.

Other elements of the sculpture, including its location, will be equally symbolic, Brown added.

The cross section of The PORTAL is an isosceles triangle that Brown told FOX 17 gets swept into a big circle, so that the sculpture looks like it just dropped out of the sky and planted itself.

And the installation site, between Shoreline Drive and the Shoreline Inn in Muskegon, also has meaning.

That site is near the former headquarters of SPX and near the company’s first plant. SPX, now located in North Carolina, had its origins in a company founded in 1911 in Muskegon as Sealed Power, an auto-industry supplier that employed 1,500 or so workers during its heyday and created millions of piston rings each year.

Brown was the right choice for The PORTAL, Judith Hayner, the project director for the Muskegon City Public Arts Initiative, told WOOD TV.

“Our goal has been to do monumentally scaled works of art, and there’s not a lot of artists that are prepared to do that,” she said.

Being prepared, Brown said, goes back to his time at Whitehall High School when a machine shop teacher named John Fanberg saw that Brown had an aptitude for working with metals but was not likely headed to a career in machine shops or industry.

“So, he said to me ‘You know, all of this equipment in here you can make art with too,’” Brown recalled with a chuckle. “He basically gave me free run of the shop, and I started to make art.”

That freedom continued at KCAD, Brown said, where a 1970s ethos permeated the campus, but highly influential and talented professors expertly shepherded their charges.

Even today, Brown remembers “Mr. Podacar” and his influences in the world of three-dimensional work. “I loved the physicality of it, and I didn’t get to do a lot of 3D in my other classes,” he said.

He also appreciates still the professors at KCAD who opened his eyes to abstraction, something that was new and exciting to him at the time.

Now, as he turns his attention to the fabrication of The PORTAL, Brown said he finds himself drawing on the foundations forged years ago, at Whitehall and at KCAD.

He had made conceptual renderings of The PORTAL out of cardboard in 2023. But 2024 brings the real deal. Though he won’t be doing the actual welding needed to create the sculpture, he will serve as the project manager, working hand in glove with folks at Versatile Fabrication, a sheet metal contractor in Muskegon Heights that has all of the heavy equipment, cranes, lasers and more that will be needed to complete the job.

“We’re talking 12 and a half tons of steel,” Brown said with a smile.

He expects that some of the welding and fabrication will happen in the next month or so, and he is excited to be on site with regularity, making sure his vision comes to fruition as the project progresses. And he can’t wait for the public unveiling of the sculpture in the fall of 2024.

“Public art is for the public,” he said. “It will be satisfying to see it when it’s completed and to see people connecting to it.”


Fatal fire kills two at mobile home in Big Rapids

The Mecosta County Sheriff's Office responded to the scene of a mobile home fire that was called in at the Circle Drive Mobile Home Park in Big Rapids Township.

The call came in at approximately 8:40 Wednesday morning. A fire investigation has revealed two victims in the mobile home. 

Detectives from the Sheriff's Office are being assisted by the Michigan State Police Crime Lab (Grand Rapids), Big Rapids Township Fire, Big Rapids Fire, Mecosta and Austin Fire, and Mecosta County EMS Units.


Big Rapids Riverview Elementary School receives awards for exceptional reading proficiency

As a part of their new program recognizing local schools that go above and beyond in reading proficiency, the TalentFirst group honored Riverview Elementary in Big Rapids on Monday.

Students, staff, and media piled in to the school’s gymnasium to celebrate the occasion, including being joined in attendance by TalentFirst President, Kevin Stotts, and Michigan Representative, Tom Kunse.

The ceremony included opening words from Principal Renee Kent, Superintendent Tim Haist, and former Talent First board member Leslie Brown.

“We work so hard here at Riverview,” Kent said. “We love to read, we love to do math, and we love to have fun. We work hard to play hard.”

When it came to the selection process, Stotts said Riverview was an obvious first pick for the award due to their unmatched proficiency.

“Compared to their peer schools, Riverview was well above any other school in the (reading) category,” Stotts said. “They stood out just on their performance alone being 50 to 60 percentage points in terms of reading proficiency, and then we did an interview with them and their team to see what they were doing. We found validation in some of their practices we’ve identified that lead to greater proficiency in reading.”

The school was presented a $1,000 check by TalentFirst for earning the “Literacy Leader Award” as well as given a tribute by Kunse that was signed by state leaders, including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, to commemorate the occasion.

“I’m honored to be a part of your day.” Kunse said to the audience.

When asking two Riverview teachers, Carrie Beeney and Chris Hearth, they said they believe it’s the connection with the students that sets them apart.

“We make sure to hang out and greet the kids every morning,” Beeney said. “Building relationships is key.”

“With the students, they always know where they are at and where they need to be,” Hearth said. “Everyone continues to grow at their own pace.”

Riverview is one of five elementaries receiving the award across West Michigan.


Ferris State Football unveils full 2024 game schedule

A full 11-game slate and six home games at Top Taggart Field highlight the 2024 Ferris State University football schedule for this coming fall as announced yesterday by the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs, who have reached the NCAA Division II Playoffs a nation-leading nine consecutive years to date, will play 11 games over the course of 12 weeks this fall with the implementation of D2's new week zero scheduling addition.

This fall's gridiron slate will feature four matchups against teams that reached the NCAA Division II Playoffs at least once in the past two seasons, including a pair of showdowns against fellow Super Region Three perennial contenders in Pittsburg State and Grand Valley State.

"We're excited our student-athletes and our team will have the opportunity to play a full 11-game schedule this coming fall," said FSU head coach Tony Annese, who ranks as college football's winningest active head coach. "It is difficult to find non-conference games and it's outstanding that our guys will be guaranteed 11 games this year. We're also thrilled to be able to play six games in front of our home fans and looking forward to the challenge in front of us."

The Bulldogs will kickoff the season on Aug. 31 with a national showdown against Pittsburg State on the road in Kansas. The Gorillas have reached the second round of the NCAA D2 Playoffs each of the past two seasons and the matchup will be the first of two meetings over the next two seasons between two of the nation's top squads.

Following the season-opening trip to Kansas, the Bulldogs return to Big Rapids for back-to-back home contests against a pair of former Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) counterparts at Top Taggart Field. FSU will open the home portion of the schedule on Saturday, Sept. 7, under the lights versus Lake Erie before hosting another potential playoff opponent in Ashland on Saturday, Sept. 14. Each of the first two home games will kickoff at 6 p.m. (ET).

The Bulldogs will have a bye week on Sept. 21 before making a long trip to Massachusetts to face American International for the second consecutive season on Sept. 28. Last year, AIC made the trip to Big Rapids and this year's contest will mark the second-ever series' matchup between the two programs.

Ferris State will then open GLIAC play back at home on Saturday, Oct. 5, hosting league newcomer Roosevelt (Ill.) for the first time ever in a conference game in Big Rapids. The contest will serve as FSU's annual homecoming game with kickoff slated for 2 p.m. (ET) on the FSU campus.

After the league opener, the Bulldogs head to Detroit to square off against Wayne State in the Motor City on Saturday, Oct. 12. The game is slated for an evening matchup starting at 6 p.m. (ET).

The Bulldogs then return home to host Michigan Tech on Oct. 19 at 1 p.m. (ET) before heading to Allendale for the Anchor-Bone Classic on Oct. 26 against Grand Valley State with kickoff slated for 3 p.m. (ET). FSU will make a regular-season return trip to Lubbers Stadium after the conference schedule had to be adjusted with the addition of Roosevelt to the slate. It will mark Ferris State's fourth consecutive road game in the series between the two West Michigan rivals including playoff matchups each of the past two years.

Ferris State then heads to the Superior Dome on Nov. 2 to take on Northern Michigan in the final regular-season road game before closing out the regular-season back at home for two-straight home contests. The Bulldogs will host longtime GLIAC counterpart Saginaw Valley State on Nov. 9 and West Michigan rival Davenport on Nov. 16 with both games scheduled for 1 p.m. (ET) starts.

Stay tuned to FerrisStateBulldogs.com for additional information on the 2024 campaign, including start times for all remaining road contests and ticket details coming soon.

Over the past three seasons of action, the Bulldogs own a 36-4 overall record and FSU has reached the NCAA Division II Playoffs nine consecutive years and counting. Ferris State has also reached the NCAA Division II National Semifinals five times in the past seven seasons of action and ranks as the country's winningest program over the past nine full seasons in D2 Football. FSU is 63-6 over the last four seasons of on-field action, including back-to-back NCAA D2 National Championships in 2021 and 2022.

Ferris State also holds the GLIAC's best mark and the best overall record of all collegiate programs in Michigan at 123-20 (.860) overall since the arrival of Annese as head coach in 2012.
 

Below is the 2024 Bulldog Football Schedule:

Aug. 31 - at Pittsburg State
Sept. 7 - vs Lake Erie, 6 pm
Sept. 14 - vs Ashland, 6 pm
Sept. 28 - at American International
Oct. 5 - vs Roosevelt*, 2 pm (Homecoming)
Oct. 12 - at Wayne State*, 6 pm
Oct. 19 - vs Michigan Tech*, 1 pm
Oct. 26 - at Grand Valley State* (Anchor-Bone Classic)
Nov. 2 - at Northern Michigan*
Nov. 9 - vs Saginaw Valley State*, 1 pm
Nov. 16 - vs Davenport*, 1 pm 

Nov. 23 - NCAA Division II Playoffs (First Round)
Nov. 30 - NCAA Division II Playoffs (Second Round)
Dec. 7 - NCAA Division II Playoffs (Quarterfinals)
Dec. 14 - NCAA Division II Playoffs (Semifinals)
Dec. 21 - NCAA Division II Playoffs (Championship) - McKinney, Texas 


59-year-old male dies after falling through the ice on Little Bass Lake

On Monday, Feb. 26 at approximately 9:09 P.M., deputies were dispatched to Little Bass Lake, located on 65th Ave near Madison Rd in Martiny Township, for an attempted water rescue of a missing person. Deputies were advised that a 59-year-old male from Mecosta had been located by family after falling through the ice while ice fishing and they were unable to get him out of the water.

Upon arrival on scene first responders were able to recover the male who was no longer breathing. Despite all life-saving efforts being attempted, the male could not be resuscitated.

Deputies were assisted by Barryton Fire, Fork Township Rescue, Chippewa Township Fire/Rescue, Morton Township Fire/Rescue with a hovercraft, Nottawa Shermon Township Fire/Rescue with an airboat, Mecosta County EMS, Mecosta County Sheriff Office Dive Team, Medical Examiners Office and Meceola Central Dispatch.  

Sheriff Miller would like to advise that due to recent warmer temperatures the ice on lakes is no longer stable and to please stay off the ice.


Evart Police: Weekly Blotter (2/19 - 2/25)

Monday, January 19

  • Nothing reported.

Tuesday, January 20

  • Nothing reported.

Wednesday, January 21

  • Flee and Elude – Officers were requested by the Osceola County Sheriff’s Department to track multiple subjects that fled on foot after a long pursuit. Three of the four subjects were detained prior to arrival. Officers and K-9 Koda located the fourth subject who was placed into custody without incident. All subjects were transported to Osceola County Jail.
  • Suicidal Subject – Officers were dispatched to check on a potential suicidal subject. Subject was safely transported to a local hospital for an evaluation. No injuries were noted from the subject. 

  • Suspicious - Officers responded to a report of a disorderly male. Arriving on scene it was determined to be a neighbor dispute reference kids entering someone else's apartment. Parties were already separated upon arrival. 

Thursday, February 22

  • Nothing reported.

Friday, February 23

  • Runaway – Officers were dispatched for a juvenile runaway. The juvenile was located and was turned over to family.

Saturday, February 24

  • Check Wellbeing – Officers were dispatched to a check wellbeing on a subject.

Sunday, February 25

  • Structure Fire – Officers were dispatched for a structure fire along with Evart Fire Department. The residence was filled with smoke and one resident was inside their apartment. It was determined the smoke came from a stove and was caused by burnt food.

  • Check Wellbeing - Officers were dispatched to check the wellbeing of subject.


How to vote for today's presidential primary

The presidential primary polls are open today for in-person voting across the state of Michigan. 

All voters that are registered in the state of Michigan can vote at their respective polling place on Election Day, Tuesday, Feb. 27 from 7 A.M. to 8 P.M.

Unregistered voters, along with voters who have not updated their registration to a new address, must go to their local clerk’s office to register beforehand. There is also an option to vote at their clerk’s office using an absentee ballot.

Voters should remember to do the following before arriving at their repsective polling location:

  • Look up the location of the polling place to ensure it has not moved recently.
  • Look up their registration status to ensure it is current.
  • Bring their photo ID to the polls if they are in possession of one. Photo ID is not a requirement to vote in Michigan.

For more information, visit Vote on Election Day (michigan.gov).

 


Moolenaar announces more Michigan agriculture support for his Supporting Farm Operations Act

Today, Congressman John Moolenaar announced additional Michigan agriculture organizations have endorsed his legislation, H.R. 7046, the Supporting Farm Operations Act. The Michigan Apple Association and the Michigan Vegetable Council have both endorsed the legislation, which would freeze the wage rate for migrant farm workers, known as the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR) at the level that was established in 2023. This freeze would go through the end of 2025.

“I am proud to have the support of more Michigan agriculture groups for my legislation to help farmers. The Department of Labor has been raising costs on farmers for years and these unprecedented increases are making it difficult for them to keep working. Farmers and ag groups support my bill because it will help ensure they can pay a reliable work force and still afford to make ends meet,” said Moolenaar.

"The 2024 Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR) for Michigan will be $18.50 -- an increase of about 7 percent. Congressman Moolenaar's AEWR freeze bill is a positive step forward as the legislature addresses the onerous and expensive regulations around H2A and the need for meaningful reform. The Michigan Apple industry is grateful for Congressman Moolenaar's continued support and his work to preserve the United States agriculture industry," said Diane Smith, Executive Director of the Michigan Apple Association.

"Our country must grow food for itself.  The next few years will be telling as to how long and to what quantity we continue to grow fruits and vegetables.  An AEWR freeze is one step in the right direction to begin to offset current unsustainable labor costs," said Greg Bird, Executive Director of the Michigan Vegetable Council.

The Michigan Apple Association and The Michigan Vegetable Council now join Michigan Farm Bureau, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, the International Fresh Produce Association, and the U.S. Apple Association in endorsing Moolenaar’s legislation.


Ferris State wraps up action at 2024 GLIAC Indoor Championships

The Ferris State University men's and women's indoor track and field teams wrapped up action in the 2024 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Championships on Sunday (Feb. 25) in University Center.

The annual league championships were hosted by Saginaw Valley State and the Bulldog men's team placed sixth with 34 points while the women tied for seventh place overall with 27 points in the final standings.

Ferris State's Claudia Wilkinson won the league title in the women's high jump with a mark of 1.83 meters.

FSU's Danae Feldpausch came in third overall in the finals of the women's mile run (4:53.81) and Hanna Brock placed 11th in the same event (5:11.14). Whitney Farrell took ninth place in the 3,000 meters (10:12.94) and Rebecca Marvin was ninth in the shot put (11.46m).

The Bulldogs' Chase Carter finished as the runner-up in the 60 meters (6.87) and also finished fifth in the 200 meters (22.21).

Meanwhile, Cooper Sorsen was fifth overall in the 3,000 meters (8:29.41).

Blaine Rogers took seventh place in the finals of the 60-meter hurdles (8.65) and Gavin Vansolkema took eighth in the mile run (4:19.15) finals. Ben Dousuah took 10th place in the shot put (13.58m) and Hunter Richardson came in 11th (12.78) in the shot. Levi Tuinstra placed 11th in the high jump (1.78m).

FSU's Ryan Kachnowski placed 10th in the mile (4:24.73). In addition, Kevin Wilson finished 10th in the 800 meters (1:59.13) and Lucas Vandam was 11th (1:59.70) in the same race.

Ferris State was also fifth in the men's 4x400-meter relay (3:27.55) and seventh in the women's 4x400-meter relay (4:07.96).

Complete results from the league championships, including both day one and day two competition, can be found at the link below.

GLIAC Final Results


Bulldog Hockey wins shootout against Northern Michigan in final home game of the year

Ferris State University's Stepan Pokorny scored in the first round of the shootout and Noah Giesbrecht saved all three Northern Michigan attempts as the Bulldogs won their second shootout of the season Saturday (Feb. 24) in the Ewigleben Ice Arena.

The Bulldogs (10-21-2) played a tightly contested game against Northern Michigan that was tied 1-1 after the first three periods. When neither team scored in overtime, the Bulldogs had their second shootout of the year, winning it 1-0 in their final home game of the season.

Before the game, Ferris State honored 11 players for senior night. Those players were Logan SteinBen SchultheisDrew CooperAustin McCarthyJacob Dirks, Pokorny, Jason BrancheauNick HaleAntonio VenutoBrenden MacLaren and Giesbrecht.

Zach Faremouth scored the first goal of the game at 11:33 in the first period on the power play. Pokorny and Brancheau had the assists on Faremouth's second power play goal this year, giving the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead.

Northern Michigan tied the game at 1:59 in the second period. Rylan Van Unen scored with assists from Tyrell Boucher and Kevin Marx Noren, the final goal of the game.

Giesbrecht made 24 saves in regulation, while Northern Michigan goaltender Beni Halasz stopped 12 shots through the first 60 minutes. In overtime, Giesbrecht denied both Wildcat shot attempts and Halasz made five saves.

Grant Slukynsky was the first shooter in the shootout, and he was turned away by Giesbrecht. Pokorny went first for the Bulldogs and beat Halasz, giving FSU a 1-0 advantage in the shootout.

Matvei Kabanov went next, and he too was denied by Giesbrecht. Brancheau had a chance to win it for Ferris State in the second round, but Halasz made the save.

Mikey Colella was the last chance for Northern Michigan, but Giesbrecht stood tall for a third time in the shootout and won it for Ferris State.

Giesbrecht finished the game 26-27 and officially earned a tie. Halasz turned away 17-18 shots. 

Northern Michigan won 31 faceoffs compared to 25 for Ferris State. The Bulldogs went 1-3 on their power play tries and killed all four of their penalties.

The Bulldogs have one game remaining in the regular season. They will visit Lake Superior State University Friday (March 1) for a 7:07 p.m. (ET) puck drop against the Lakers. Pregame coverage will begin at 6:30 p.m. (ET) on Sunny 97.3 FM.


DuPont Scholarship boosts Ferris State Plastics Engineering Technology senior's bottom line ahead of career entry

Rockford native and Ferris State University Plastics Engineering Technology student Cameron Sawicki is the proud recipient of a $2,500 scholarship made available through a collaborative for industrial giant DuPont Tedlar and the Society of Plastic Engineers Foundation.  

Sawicki is a senior and said he will graduate this May with a Bachelor of Science degree, with a major in Plastics and Polymer Engineering Technology, accentuated by the excellence of resources and faculty in Ferris’ National Elastomer Center.

“Our program is very well rounded, as we work with the latest in injection molding technology in our labs, then learn to apply that knowledge through instruction from faculty with extensive industry experience,” Sawicki said. “I could not have asked for a better arrangement for my education and career intentions.”

Sawicki said Plastics Engineering was a field that came into focus in his high school days.

“I have to admit entering the program was something of a snap decision,” Cameron said. “I am so glad, as my choice of this degree path has exceeded all my expectations.”

The Plastics Engineering Technology curriculum is part of Ferris’ School of Design and Manufacturing in the College of Engineering Technology. Data gathered by the college notes PET graduate placement is near 100 percent. A recent group of graduates received salaries averaging $68,500 a year that were augmented by generous benefit plans and signing bonuses.

“I have received full-time job offers, but am still considering my options at this point,” Sawicki said.

PET program coordinator Tom Van Pernis, an associate professor, is a 2008 alumnus of the program. He said student recruitment requires more prospect education than in years past, owing to social media misinformation about the plastics industry and its active role in environmental stewardship.

“We are helping students understand they can be agents of positive change, by emphasizing sustainability in their service to the industry,” Van Pernis said. “There are many opportunities to work in the creation of industrial and commercial products, at starting salaries of $70,000 and beyond and Ferris graduates are ‘first choice’ candidates in their hiring processes.”

The DuPont Tedlar Scholarship that was awarded to Sawicki is part of a year-long emphasis to support studies in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

Tedlar is a polyvinyl fluoride film that can withstand scuffs, stains, and harsher conditions, with applications ranging from protective clothing to industrial uses. The corporation and the SPE Foundation continue their collaboration in 2024 through targeted educational opportunities for Girl Scouts and students in the vicinity of Tedlar production plants in New York and Ohio.

Van Pernis said Ferris PET students Anthony Audia of Ionia and Ashley Dobbyn of Garden City also received SPE scholarships in the last granting cycle. 


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