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Big Rapids Daily News

Michigan residents will soon be able to get rid of those dirty, sticky, plastic and metal cans and bottles.


Starting June 15, the Michigan Department of Treasury announced some retailers must reopen their bottle return facilities.


The reopening applies to stores with bottle return facilities housed at the front of the store or in separated areas and serviced by reverse vending machines, meaning they require little person-to-person contact.


Retailers can limit bottle return hours, limit returns to $25 per customer per day, limit the number of available machines, and periodically close facilities for cleaning if needed.


They are asked to limit returns to 140% of their average weekly collection volume from April and May of last year.


To read the detailed notice about bottle returns from the Treasury CLICK HERE 


Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Monday announced the 'Stay Home Stay Safe' order will be lifted meaning all bars, restaurants can reopen at 50% capacity on June 8th. 


Servers will also be required to wear masks and groups sitting six feet apart


Whitmer is moving six remaining regions comprising 93% of the state’s population to phase 4 — “improving” — two weeks after she announced that two regions in northern Michigan could advance to that stage. 


However, the Governor's announcement didn't open every business up, some businesses where close contact is necessary, gyms, hair salons tattoo shops and indoor theaters will remain closed. However, gyms and fitness centers can offer outdoor activities such as classes, practices, training sessions and games as long as participants, coaches and spectators stay 6 feet apart.


Retailers can reopen to customers without an appointment on Thursday and restaurants can offer dine-in service on June 8th both with capacity limits. 


Day camps for children and pools can open June 8th. Groups of up to 100 can gather outside with social distancing, up from a threshold of 10.


Groups of up to 100 people can gather outside as long as they practice social distancing under a new executive order signed Monday, and drive-in movie theaters will be allowed to reopen.


The news comes the same day as a big drop in daily COVID-19 cases in Michigan. On Monday, the health department reported 135 new cases, and 25 deaths. That brings the totals to 57,532 cases and 5,516 deaths. 




A 14-year old Grant Township girl is behind bars after being accused of stabbing a 14-year old Big Rapids Township girl multiple times. 


Mecosta County Sheriff's Office Detective Casey Nemeth says the 14-year old suspect was arrested on multiple charges including attempted 1st degree murder. 


Nemeth says the suspect is alleged to have used multiple weapons to stab a Big Rapids Township 14-year old girl in a plot to murder her on the suspect's family property in Grant Township. 


The victim was transported to Grand Rapids by Aeromed for treatment for her life-threating injuries.


The juvenile suspect remains in custody awaiting probate court action.



Over the past several weeks, COVID-19 cases have spiked in two counties within District Health Department #10’s (DHD#10) jurisdiction, Newaygo and Oceana. While there are several reasons for the increase in cases, an area that the public can help play a big part in reducing the spread is to commit to follow the recommendations of staying home and practicing social distancing and wearing a face covering when in public.


As essential businesses continued to operate during the Governor’s Stay Home Stay Safe Executive Order, many business owners went above and beyond following the appropriate protocol for screening their employees, cleaning and disinfecting their facilities, implementing social distancing plans to keep employees separated and educating their employee on COVID-19 and its prevention strategies. Unfortunately, many individuals have chosen not to adhere to the Executive Order to stay home or to social distance and mask while in public, which has resulted in increases in COVID-19 infections. Because not everyone who is infected shows symptoms even though they are contagious, they head back to work or into community settings and unknowingly infect others.


“We understand the frustration that business owners express as they are doing everything right to keep their facilities disinfected and their employees safe,” said Kevin Hughes, Health Officer for DHD#10. “We can’t say enough just how important it is for everyone to please do your part to not only protect you and your family, but to protect others.”


In Newaygo and Oceana Counties, the increase in cases is not coming from any one location.  Many of these cases are due to families getting together where asymptomatic individuals unknowingly spread the virus to multiple family members and then to coworkers. Other cases involve individuals contracting the virus while working in neighboring counties outside of DHD#10’s ten-county jurisdiction which have higher numbers of cases and then unknowingly bringing it home to their families, and in some cases spreading it among three to four generations. In addition, more testing is being done in these communities by hospitals and the opening of the drive through testing clinic in Shelby through a joint effort of Northwest Michigan Health Services and DHD#10. More testing will identify additional cases otherwise unknown. DHD#10 continues to work closely with our partners, local employers and community officials to provide guidance and assistance to slow the spread.


It is known that COVID-19 can spread rapidly at mass gatherings and in enclosed spaces. Please do your part to prevent getting or spreading COVID-19, including:

  • Follow the guidelines set forth in the current executive orders2020-91 (Safeguards to protect Michigan’s workers from COVID-19) and 2020-92(Temporary requirement to suspend certain activities that are not necessary to sustain or protect life).
  • Try to think of alternatives to serving meals “buffet” style for your holiday cookouts.
  • If you are sick, please stay home to avoid getting others sick.
  • Unless you are in Regions 6 or 8, do not have or go to gatherings of more than 10 people.
  • Always remain 6 feet or more away from others when you are in public, whether inside or outside.
  • Wear face coverings when you are in an enclosed public space or can’t maintain at least 6 feet physical distance.
  • Practice good hand washing hygiene – wash hands regularly or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (60% or more) if soap and water are not available.
  • Clean all “high touch” surfaces every day with household cleaning spray or sanitizing wipes.
  • Cover coughs, sneezes and avoid touching your face.


For more information on COVID-19, go to You can also send questions to


Individual tackling dummies for each player on the football field during practice. Water fountains sitting idly to the side. Teams using multiple buses to travel, allowing athletes to maintain a safe, social distance.


It’s all part of the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s plan to re-open high school athletics.


On Friday, the MHSAA and executive director Mark Uyl shared a 11-page document with members of the athletic community outlining the guidelines for schools looking to start practices and competitions when the state’s “Safer-at-Home” order is lifted. The order is currently scheduled to be lifted on June 12.


The first two pages of the document are a direct address from Uyl to the MHSAA community. In it, Uyl offers updates as to when and how the sports can be restarted once the order is lifted. He does so in two separate sections, one titled, “The “WHEN Update” and the other titled, “The HOW Updated.”


The following nine pages are comprised of the MHSAA and the National Federation of High School Sports’ outline for the steps that need to be taken by schools in order to allow sports to re-open. The final page of the document is an evaluation for designed to be used by coaches to monitor the health of his athletes.


The Big Rapids Daily News obtained a copy of the release. Here are some notable points within the “MHSAA/NFHS Guidance for Re-Opening School Sports” document:


The document consists of four sections: Points of Emphasis, Administrative Areas to Address, Summer Conditioning and Practice Sessions, and Contests, Games and Competitions.


-          Points of Emphasis

-          The first point of emphasis is a need for social distancing and face coverings to “decrease the spread of respiratory droplets.” The document advises that health departments should offer guidance to the athletic departments and that social distancing and face coverings will become the “new normal” when athletics begin again.

-          The document recommends student athletes to wear face coverings in steps one and two of the re-opening plan and encourages the wearing of coverings in step three. Exceptions for wearing face coverings include swimming, distance running, and other forms of intense aerobic activity.

-          In anticipation of a second wave this upcoming fall, schools within the MHSAA will be required to be prepared for the possibility of the cancellation of athletic events and isolation within the season.


-          Administrative Areas to Address

-          The MHSAA is allowing a one-year extension of an athlete’s physical due to the uncertainty of access to local doctors and physicians.

-          In anticipation that many athletes are out of shape due to the long break that the nationwide quarantine has created, the MHSAA and NFHS are creating a consensus outline for fall sports practices that may be different from prior years.

-          No spitting or touching of the face, with constant sanitizing and cleaning of equipment.

-          No pre or post game handshake lines.


-          Summer Conditioning and Practice Sessions:

-          During steps one and two, all coaches and players participating in the workouts should be checked for symptoms of COVID-19. The monitoring form attached to the document is recommended to be used by the overseeing coach.

-          Step one calls for no gatherings of larger than 10 people. The size limits for workouts in sections two and three are to be determined. No locker rooms are to be used during step one.

-          During step one, basketball teams should not practice passing a single ball between teammates. In football, players cannot practice handoffs or passes and cannot share tackling dummies or blocking sleds. Additionally, baseball and softball players may not share bats, gloves, or play catch with a single ball. These restrictions lessen in steps two and three.

-          Players should always bring their own water bottles and food.

-          Water troughs and fountains are not allowed in steps one or two, but can be utilized in step three as long as they are cleaned between each use.


-          Contests, Games and Competition

-          Each sport offered at the high school level is categorized as either a high, moderate, or low risk sport. Football and wrestling are considered higher-risk, baseball and basketball fall as moderate, and running events and golf among the low-risk sports.

-          Social distancing requirements will be required during the transportation to and from games as well, meaning that schools will likely need multiple buses to get to games.

-          There are three tiers of those who could attend games. Tier one includes players, coaches, officials and essential staff. Tier two is comprised of the media, and tier three is made up of spectators. Only tiers one and two will be allowed to attend games until restrictions are lifted.


As the COVID-19 crisis continues to evolve, officials with the Food Services Department at Big Rapids Public Schools are adapting to meet the needs of area kids this summer. 


"In the past, children were required to eat their meals on-site. A few years ago we added different activities for each day of the week and a Back to School Carnival on the last day of the program. We will not be able to offer those programs this year as we are doing non-congregate feeding"; said Jane DeVries, Food Service Director. 


Since March 17th, The Food Services Department along with volunteers have served 230,456 meals under the Unanticipated School Closure Program offered by the State of Michigan  


DeVries says these meals included a 7 day supply of breakfast and lunch.


"We have been providing these meals from our Middle School location and doing bus deliveries to our bus students" said Devries "However, our bus delivery will end on June 2nd, but we will still continue to operate our Middle School pick up location under the Unanticipated School Closure Program until June 30th." she added.  


After June 30th, All sites must then switch to the State of Michigan’s MEET UP AND EAT UP summer food service program on July 1st.


Parents can pick up meals for their child every Tuesday from 10am-1pm at the pickup window behind Big Rapids Middle School. 


Sites have been allowed to operate the MEET UP AND EAT UP summer food service program until August 30th or until their school year starts or unless they notify the sites of any updated changes.




Michigan Secretary of State offices will be reopening on Monday.


But if you have business to do, you'll have to set up an appointment. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says all 131 offices will be open Monday through Friday from 9 until 5.


Secretary of State office workers will be wearing masks, standing six feet apart, using desk shields, and be disinfecting shared surfaces.


Doors to the offices will be locked and a greeter will let customers with appointments in at scheduled appointment times.


Newaygo County has surpassed the 100 mark today for COVID-19 cases after state health officials are reporting an additional four cases on Thursday.


Newaygo County has a total of 101 total cases since reporting back in March. 


As of Wednesday, Newaygo County has a total of 15 recoveries and no deaths, according to data from District Health Department #10. 


Mecosta County has stayed at 20 total cases of COVID-19 today after reporting one on Wednesday. According to the District Health Dept. #10 Mecosta County has had 12 recoveries and two dealths.


In Osceola County, cases were unchanged since Wednesday and has a total of 11 COVID-19 cases with six recoveries. 


For more information about local cases CLICK HERE


For Statewide numbers CLICK HERE 




The House Ways and Means Committee has approved legislation to require prescriptions for opioids to be transmitted from the doctor to the pharmacy electronically.


The next step is approval by the full House of Representatives.


The bill would require the electronic prescribing of prescription drugs in Michigan by Jan. 1, 2021.


If a prescriber could not meet the electronic transmission requirements due to a technological limitation that was not reasonably within their control, they could apply for a waiver from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.


The Michigan Veteran Affairs Agency has partnered with Meijer to provide emergency relief vouchers to qualified veterans for groceries and personal care items.


A base amount of $25,000 is available to counties through the County Veteran Service Fund Emergency Relief grant to provide vouchers and other forms of support for veterans during the COVID-19 crisis.


The vouchers are valid through Sept. 30, 2020.


Veterans inquiring about receiving vouchers should contact their local county office or call 1-800- MICH-VET.


Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital Family Medicine — Canadian Lakes is reopening June 1 as restrictions related to COVID-19 continue to relax.


Canadian Lakes Family Medicine temporarily consolidated with Spectrum Health Big Rapids Family Medicine as part of the COVID-19 response in March to best keep all patients and visitors safe.

“We’re delighted to open back up our Canadian Lakes family clinic for the convenience and care of the community,” said Andrea Leslie, president of Spectrum Health United, Kelsey, Big Rapids and Reed City hospitals.

In addition to the reopening of the family medicine office, virtual provider visits continue to be a popular and convenient option for those who need care.

“Whether your visit is virtual or once again in person, we urge you to not delay care,” Leslie said. “We’re here for you and we’re ready to safely care for you and your family.”


Visitors to Canadian Lakes Family Medicine will notice changes due to the COVID-19 virus, as extra safety measures have been put in place at all Spectrum Health facilities, including:

? Frequent and extensive cleaning, especially in high touch areas
? Screening employees, patients and visitors
? Requiring everyone to use hand sanitizer and wear masks, which are provided onsite
? Having team members wear appropriate personal protective equipment
? Setting up waiting rooms differently and restructuring appointments scheduling to
minimize wait times and limit contact between patients
? Placing appropriate signage throughout spaces to maintain social distancing

Canadian Lakes Family Medicine is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. To make an appointment with a provider, call 231.972.6000.


The Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort in Mount Pleasant will be reopening at 8am on June 1st,  according to a press release from the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe. 


The reopening comes before Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-home order expires June 12, but with a variety of safety precautions in place meant to protect employees and guests.


According to the press release, new safety measures and policies at the casino will include face masks, a smoking ban and temperature checks at entrances with either infrared cameras or no-contact thermometers, enforcing social distance guidelines in how slot machines are positioned, requiring people to wash their hands, reducing food-and-drink services to reduce face-to-face contact and maintaining a rigorous cleaning schedule.


Even though Soaring Eagle will be open to the general public in June, the tribe says some amenities will opening at a later date which include the Aurora Buffet, Siniikaung, Isabellas, Water Lily, valet service, shuttle service, coat check, the spa and salon, the pool and hot tub areas, poker games, tour bus groups and concerts. At Saganing Eagles Landing, amenities to open at a later date include shuttle service, coat check, the pool and the fitness center.






Michigan now has over 55,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.


The state Health Department reported 233 more cases of the virus Tuesday bringing the statewide total to 55,104.


An additional 26 deaths were also reported.


Here in the west central Michigan area, Isabella County has 74 cases of COVID-19 and 46 recoveries, Mecosta County has 19 cases with 12 recoveries, Newaygo County has 92 cases with 14 recoveries and Osceola County has 10 cases with 6 recoveries, according to local health departments.

From District Health Dept. #10


(From Central Michigan Health Department)




20-665  @9:50am PERE MARQUETT / STATE,  MDOP/TURFING-A 22 year old male was cited and released.


20-666  @10:42am  LARCENY in the 600 block of LINDEN ST. 


20-667  @2.59pm  DOG AT LARGE HEMLOCK PARK.  Complainant that another person was not in control of her two pit bulls as they jumped out of her vehicle and attacked their Scottish Terrier.


20-668  @4:46pm  Civil in the 700 block of Water Tower.  


20-669 @10:45pm Traffic stop State/Pine led to arrest of a 28 year old female for OUID.


20-670 @1:29am Assist in the 700 block of Fuller.




20-671  @12:58pm  THREATS in the 1300 block of CATHERINE. 


20-672  @3:13pm  CIVIL in Hemlock Park.  Female riding a motorcyles with boyfriend and another couple males. They were resting when she decided to break up with boyfriend.  They made it down the road before pulling over in the 700 block of S State, where she got off, calling her mom in Muskegon, asking her to come get her.




20-673-Unlawful entry in the 300 block of Escott.  Threw trash everywhere.  No actual damage.  


20-674-MDOP in the 1300 block of Catherine.  


20-675-Hit and run PI at State and Perry.  Found suspect picking up food in the 700 block of Perry.  86 year old Stanwood man said he stopped down the street after the motorcycle hit him but then he left to pick up his food.  Minor injuries for motorcyclist and passenger.  Report will be forwarded through on 86 year old for failing to stop at a PI.  


20-676 – Check well being at Parkview Village Apt A; a check was conducted on female because she had not returned home in a while after going for a walk at 4pm.  She returned home and was fine at approximately 3am.


20-677 – Suspicious in the 500 block of S. Michigan. Caller reported males arguing and possibly fighting.  Located two male, who both denied fighting. 




20-679 – Mental in the 600 block of Adams St.  Female stated someone was pumping gas into her apartment. Unfounded and female stated that she didn’t know what officers were talking about.


20-680 – Area Check @ Hemlock for a orange kayak floating down the river upside down without anyone around. River was searched with multiple agencies and the kayak was found. Later the two kayakers called dispatch advising they were okay. There is still one missing red kayak, approximately 8 -10 ft in length.


20-681 – Civil in the 300 block of N State. 


Sunday 5/17 …
While on patrol an officer observed a suspicious situation regarding movement in a vehicle parked on the
street. Due to the hour of night and recent reports of small items being taken from unlocked cars, the Officer
investigated and found the registered owner was in the vehicle. 

While performing a traffic stop for disregarding a stop sign, the Officer found the 18-year-old male driver to
be operating under the influence of drugs. He was issued a citation for disregarding the stop sign, no proof
of insurance, along with the misdemeanor charges of the OUID, no operator’s license, and possession of
Marijuana and LSD. The individual was transported and lodged in the Osceola County Jail and his vehicle

Monday 5/18 …
Officers received a harassment complaint and advised the individual to block the messages. The Officer also
made contact with the father of the other party involved and issued a warning to stop the harassing messages.

Tuesday 5/19 …
Officers received a complaint of harassment via text message. The matter was unfounded.

Officers received a complaint regarding a suspicious situation. The male had reportedly been overheard
saying he would “beat him for every dollar”. It was determined that man had been fired from his construction
job and had to call for a ride home to another part of the state. The man was issued a warning regarding the
noise and it was determined he had no intent to harm the supervisor and was only speaking out of anger.

Wednesday 5/20 …
Officers were dispatched to an apartment complex regarding a woman yelling. The apartment complex was
checked, no one was found to be yelling inside or outside. The matter was unfounded.

Officers received a complaint regarding someone entering an unlocked vehicle at night and taking items
from inside. The matter is under investigation.

Reed City Police Officers were requested to assist Osceola County Probation Officer while meeting up at the
residence of a probationer, who stated he was having a issues with his new medication. The PO explained
that the individual would be able to go to the hospital if needed and any issues due to his tether.

Officers continue to issue abatement paperwork to those in violation of the city ordinances regarding tall
grass, trash and abandoned or inoperable vehicles.

Officers were requested to assist a woman in a wheel chair that was stuck in the sand. The Officer retrieved
a set of crutches for the woman to stand with, as he removed the wheel chair from the sand.
Officers were requested to assist CPS regarding a child neglect situation.

Thursday 5/21 …

Officers were dispatched to an apartment complex to assist CPS with a scheduled home visit. CPS reported
no one was answering the door, but they could hear children inside. The matter was resolved upon the
Officers arrival, and assistance was no longer needed.

Officers received a complaint regarding a neighbor’s tree branches falling and causing damage to the
complainant’s rain gutters and fence. The responding Officer made contact with the owner of the tree and
explained his responsibilities regarding the branches.

Officers took a civil complaint regarding a shared driveway.

While on patrol in the evening, three males were found at Lake Osceola State Bank parking lot. The males
were ID'd for possible curfew violation and were found to be old enough to be out at that time. The Officers
informed them of the curfew time for the 16-year-old. All three were polite and cooperative and stated they
would be gone by that time.

Friday 5/22 …
Officers observed a 20-year-old male who had a warrant out of Big Rapids. Due to the virus he was advised
to take care of the matter instead of going to jail.

Officers responded to a property damage accident regarding a vehicle hitting a building. The woman stated
she hit her head and it was sore. There was minor damage to the vehicle and building.

Officers were dispatched to an apartment complex regarding a trespass violation. The matter has been turned
over to the Prosecuting attorneys Office for review.


A Big Rapids Township woman is in trouble with the law after rolling her vehicle following an alleged drunk driving accident Wednesday morning.


Sheriff Deputies say it happened on on New Millpond Road south of 15 Mile Road in Big Rapids Township.


When police arrived, the driver was not at the scene.


After an investigation, the driver was identified and she was located and arrested for drunken driving.


The name of the woman is being withheld pending arraignment.


Meanwhile, a Morley man suffered minor injuries after losing control of his vehicle and striking several trees Wednesday night.


It happened on 200th Avenue just north of Jefferson Road.


Deputies say a 46-year old Morley man was traveling southbound on 200th Avenue when he ran off the road and struck several trees.


He was taken to Spectrum Health Big Rapids for minor injuries.


A new robotic-assisted surgical system debuted at Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital Tuesday, increasing capabilities for the surgical staff in providing state-of-the-art care for area patients.

The da Vinci Xi system is the next generation of technology and gives surgeons more flexibility and reach, advanced visualization and integrated table motion that moves in sync with the robot.


The system was purchased late last year, but it’s implementation was delayed due to COVID-19.

“This is definitely a game changer for surgery here in Big Rapids,” said general surgeon Mark Haan, MD. “This upgrade places Big Rapids on the forefront of minimally invasive surgery and being able to provide this type of surgery to the people of our community provides so many benefits.”

Those benefits include less postoperative pain, quicker recovery time, and in most cases no need for postoperative narcotic/opiate pain medications, Dr. Haan said.

Dr. Haan, along with general surgeon Lisa Price, DO, have used the previous da Vinci system since 2017.

Common procedures for robotic surgery include gallbladder removal, hernia repair, colon resections and hysterectomies.
The da Vinci system enables the surgeon to operate through a few small incisions, like traditional laparoscopy, but instead of directly manipulating the instruments, the surgeon uses da Vinci’s multiple arms to translate hand movements into smaller, meticulous movements of tiny instruments inside the patient’s body.

The surgeon sits at a console, looking at a high definition, 3D image of the surgical site captured by a tiny endoscope camera on one of the device’s arms. The system provides the surgeon with enhanced vision, precision and control.

“This remarkably sophisticated equipment opens up techniques that can be of great benefit to our patients,” Dr. Price said. “It is capable of precise and minute movements and flexibility beyond what the human hand can do.”


Congressman John Moolenaar, of Midland, says he urges everyone to follow the advice of emergency responders who are protecting their community because of flooding.


Moolenaar says he has been working with state and local officials and he has opened communication with FEMA as they prepare to assess the need for future assistance. He added that Mid Michigan residents pull together in challenging times and they will make it through this.


Governor Gretchen Whitmer last night urged some ten thousand people in the Midland area to evacuate their homes after the Edenville Dam breached on Tuesday.


Scott Shankel wants to be teaching his strength and conditioning class. He wants to be preparing his Reed City Coyotes for the upcoming football season, putting together workouts that increase his players’  stamina, strength and speed.


However, this year, the second-year coach at Reed City is stuck in his home along with coaches all over the state due to the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic has led to the cancellation of the remainder of the school year and will delay the start of organized team summer workouts.  


Now Shankel is still putting together workouts, just not in the same way. Instead of leading his team in the weight room, he’s sending workouts to his team in text messages.


“We’re in the same boat as everyone else, where we can’t have face to face contact,” Shankel said. “Some of them have weight equipment and I know they’re lifting, but (I’m) just trying to send workouts and stay in contact with them.”


Coaching a team that finished 6-4 a season ago, Shankel is eager to get back on the field with his team. Normally, he’d be preparing for various individual and team camps that his program puts on in the summer. Instead, he’s left crossing his fingers that he’ll be able to coach his team in the fall.


He’s harboring optimism for the upcoming season. Shankel noted that developing incoming talent will be important, but the simplicity of his team’s “Wing-T” offense makes it easier to install with the team early in the season.


Above all, Shankel wants to make sure his players are faring well. While football is important, the health and well-being of the players is higher on his priority list.


“I want to make sure they’re staying healthy and safe,” Shankel said. “All the mental, physical and social stuff going on in their world right now, I’m just checking and trying to reach out to them every so often.”


When the Stay-at-Home order was first set in stone, Big Rapids coach Mike Selzer called each of the players on his team to assess their workout situation. He wanted to know who had weights and who didn’t, making sure each kid received a weekly workout plan that catered to what they had at home.


“We post two workouts every Sunday that get them through each week,” Selzer said. “One workout is for the kids that have weights, and the other is for the kids that do not.”


The position coaches on Big Rapids’ staff are each responsible for keeping in touch with their specific players, while Selzer keeps track of the specific grade levels. He says that his team utilizes the Remind app to keep in touch weekly, sharing workouts and simply keeping in touch.


Like Shankel, Selzer is optimistic that there will be a season this fall. He reminds his team to prepare as normal, albeit under different circumstances. He noted MHSAA rule changes as evidence that many are preparing as though there is going to be a season.


A normal year would see the incoming freshman class indoctrinated in the Cardinal culture during the second half of the spring semester through optional lifting. Starting in April, Selzer and company allows the current eighth graders to take the bus to the high school to lift with varsity players. Now, those incoming freshmen will have to wait until at least June to get their first taste of high school football.


“We started (early freshman lifting) three years ago, and it was a huge difference,” Selzer said. “Not so much on the lifting aspect, but kind of the acclimation, where our summer freshman attendance increased by almost 200 percent.”


In Chippewa Hills, second year coach AJ Webley is utilizing the Zoom group communication app to keep his team together throughout the pandemic. Every weekday, Webley and his coaches chat with various groups. Mondays are designated for Webley to meet with the captains, the following three days are scheduled for him to meet with both the varsity and junior varsity teams, and Fridays are coaches’ meetings.


“We talk for about 30 to 45 minutes just about what’s going on in their life,” Webley said, “about how they’re handling the COVID mess.”


Webley noted that his players also keep in touch in a Facebook messenger group. The conversations, he says, go beyond the playing field. He enjoys being able to keep up with his players and keeping them motivated.


Webley also has set up two different workout situations, one for those who have weights and another for those who don’t. His message to those who don’t: Get creative.


“We just tell them, grab some stuff around the house,” he said. “Whether it’s a cinder block, or take your book bag and fill it up with stuff. Anything we can do to add some resistance to the usual body weight exercises that we have them do.”


The three coaches share an optimism for the season. Above all, they’re using this time to build relationships with their players. When summer comes and restrictions are lifted, they’ll return to the sound of weights clanging and whistles blowing.


However, until then, they’ll have to make do with the silence that comes with being quarantined from their players.


The City of Big Rapids recieved some heavy rain on Monday, May 18th. Some areas of the city had flooding, like near Crossroads Charter Academy and Mitchell Creek.  The National Weather Service says 3-4 inches of rain came down on Monday. 





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