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Big Rapids Daily News

Ferris State officially breaks ground on new Center For Athletics Performance Project

Ferris State University officially broke ground on the Bulldogs' new Center for Athletics Performance project as a ground breaking ceremony took place on Thursday (Oct. 14) at the Ewigleben Sports Complex.


The major upgrade to FSU's athletic facilities, which was approved by the university's Board of Trustees and announced this past spring, will soon enable FSU student-athletes to train and compete with the best.


The speakers during Thursday morning's groundbreaking ceremony included FSU President David Eisler, recently-retired Athletic Director Perk Weisenburger, new Athletics Director Steve Brockelbank, Bulldog Football alum and project visionary Jeff Schmitz along with women's basketball student-athlete Zoe Anderson, who represented FSU's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, in addition to representatives from Granger Construction.


"I believe every student-athlete and every athletic team from Ferris State University will benefit from this important project," Eisler said during the groundbreaking ceremony.


The university's Board of Trustees approved the renovation and construction project, which will include a new and expanded strength and conditioning space, 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 along with other elements.


The upgrades will offer championship-caliber training and conditioning facilities to the nearly 400 Bulldog student-athletes and 17 varsity programs.


"It was evident to me during the interview process that Ferris State places a high value on the student-athlete experience, which includes development and preparing student-athletes to compete and win championships," said Brockelbank. "I'm only four days into the job and there are very few athletic directors anywhere that can say they are part of a groundbreaking for a major project like this so early into their tenure, which demonstrates the value placed upon our teams and student-athletes."


The university community identified the need for the renovation and expansion of the Ewigleben Sports Complex as part of its Big Rapids campus master plan several years ago. The Board of Trustees officially approved a revised budget and scope for the Center for Athletics Performance in late January.


"We could not be more excited about moving forward with this extremely important project," Weisenburger said, upon announcement of the project this past spring. "We are excited for what this means for our current and future student-athletes, who will now be able to prepare themselves to compete at the highest level in modernized and much improved facilities."


An Ann Arbor-based architecture, design and planning firm, The Collaborative, is currently contributing to the CAP project. Meanwhile, Granger Construction will oversee the subcontracting firms, who will take 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 includes a new home for the volleyball program, Bulldog Arena, in addition to a new entry and connector space.


The Center for Athletics Performance will provide 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 current volleyball arena, which will be 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.


For additional information on the Center for Athletics Performance project, please visit this link:

Father of Newaygo teen who brought explosive to school sent to prison

The father of a teen who accidentally detonated a homemade explosive at his high school in Newaygo is going to prison for four years.


David Saylor Senior was sentenced by a federal judge in Grand Rapids after pleading guilty to possession of a pipe bomb and a stolen gun.


In March, his son brought the homemade explosive to school and accidentally set it off, injuring himself and others.


Saylor says he and his son designed and made explosives for two years.

Police investigating after Union Township woman struck and killed by truck

A 73-year old woman from Union Township in Isabella County is dead after being struck by a vehicle while walking back to her home from the roadway.


The Sheriff's office says deputies were called for a one vehicle accident involving a pedestrian. When they arrived to the scene, officers discovered the 73-year old female victim who had been walking back to her residence from the roadway, possible mailbox, and had been struck by a pickup truck that left the roadway.


The driver of the vehicle, a 23-year old Mt. Pleasant man told deputies that he may have fallen asleep and left the roadway striking the victim.


The woman was pronounced deceased at the scene, the driver of the vehicle was taken to a local hospital to be checked out.

Michigan State Police warning residents of phone scam

Michigan State Police are warning residents in West Michigan that there is a phone scam going around.


Troopers say scammers are calling citizens stating that they are with the Michigan State Police and giving various reasons, such as they missed a court date and there is a warrant for their arrest, and they need to send money.


The Michigan State Police say they will NEVER call and solicit money.


If you receive these calls, never give your personal or banking information, and hang up.

Fenton man faces child porn charges in Isabella Co.

A man from Fenton is facing charges for distributing child pornography while living in Isabella County.


According to police, the 21-year-old distributed, promoted and financed child pornography between February of 2019 and August of 2020 while living in Union Township.


The man posted a $45,000 cash or surety bond last week while in the Isabella County Jail.


He faces nine felony counts of distributing child pornography, each count fined at $50,000.


He could face up to seven years in prison.

Ferris State University Board of Trustees approves five-year capital outlay plan, room and board rates, budgets

Ferris State University’s Board of Trustees approved a new five-year capital outlay plan, a final budget for the 2022 fiscal year, room and board rates, a new campus card and access system, and a major wireless infrastructure project along with other items at its regular meeting on Friday, Oct. 8 at the Woodbridge N. Ferris Building in Grand Rapids.


As Ferris officially broke ground Thursday, Sept. 2, on its current $32 million capital outlay project on the Big Rapids campus, the Center for Virtual Learning, plans were already in motion preparing for future opportunities backed by the state of Michigan. Looking ahead, with the state five-year capital outlay plan (2023-27), the trustees approved an Interdisciplinary Healthcare Education and Allied Health Renovation as its top priority for capital projects. University officials note the design of this proposal connects Ferris’ allied health disciplines – Allied Health, Optometry and Pharmacy with a continued focus on the university’s tradition and needs of interprofessional education made even more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic.


The trustees approved a 2022-23 room and board rate of $9,862, for a freshman, with a double room and a basic meal plan. The rate, an increase of 1.3 percent, is expected to keep Ferris’ rates among the lowest compared to Michigan university peers for room and board. The board also approved a final fiscal-year 2022 general operating budget of $195.6 million, a reduction of $3.6 million from the previous year. Included in the budget is a 3.6-percent student scholarship increase to $27.6 million. Further approved by board members was a final $25 million fiscal-year 2022 housing and dining budget.


In other Oct. 8 action, the trustees approved:


  • phase II of the wireless infrastructure replacement and enhancement plan. The university performed an extensive wireless technology study in 2017. As a result, Ferris adopted Aerohive Access Points, a product line owned and operated by Extreme Networks, as a standard. Ferris has already procured 1200 access points with Phase I. This has created a significant increase in network reliability in locations where the access points have been installed. These installations are expected to be completed by December 2021. The university is planning to procure an additional 1000 access points and replace approximately 150 aging network switches and routers;


  • professional services for support of the Kendall College of Art and Design’s Wege Prize Awards event. Armstrong Marketing provide event planning, project management and administrative support services. KBOgroup will deliver technical planning, scheduling and overall audio and visual management and C.C. Sullivan will provide public relations, marketing and content services;


  • four appointments to the boards of directors of FSU-authorized charter school academies, a professional services agreement with National Charter Schools Institute to provide detailed student performance data analysis for each FSU-authorized academy and the establishment of the Ferris State University/Hope of Detroit Academy STEM Learning Lab;


  • acceptance of FY2021 audited financial statements as presented by Andrews Hoper Pavlick;


  • a contract with Atrium Campus to begin implementation of the Campus Card and Access Control System on behalf of the University. The contract is to provide services for that system for a period of five (5) years, commencing July 2022 through June 2027; and
  • closure of the Associate of Arts, Pre-Technical Communication degree program due to shifting student interest to other programs. Students currently enrolled in the program will receive assistance to complete the degree in a timely fashion.

The current trustees are chair Amna P. Seibold, of East Grand Rapids; vice-chair Ana L. Ramirez-Saenz, of Grand Rapids; secretary Rupesh K. Srivastava, of Wixom; member-at-large LaShanda R. Thomas, of Grosse Pointe; George K. Heartwell, of Newaygo; Kurt A. Hofman, of Grand Rapids; and Ronald E. Snead, of Stanwood.


The next regular meeting of the Board of Trustees is Friday, Dec. 17, on the Big Rapids campus. Committee meetings begin at 10 a.m., followed by the full board meeting at 11 a.m.

Two drivers injured in two car accident on Northland Dr.

Two drivers are recovering following a two car accident in Mecosta County Saturday evening.


It happened on Northland Drive and Arthur Road.


The Mecosta County Sheriff's Office says a female driver was slowing to make a left turn onto Arthur Rd. from Northland Dr. when a male driver did not see her and rear-ended her vehicle.


Both drivers were taken to Spectrum hospital in Big Rapids for their injuries.


The female driver sustained minor injuries; the male driver suffered from a broken neck.


He was transferred to Butterworth hospital in GR.

Deputies looking for suspects involved in Wheatland Twp. police chase



Mecosta County Sheriff Deputies is asking for the public's help in identifying suspects that took police on a short chase Wednesday evening.


The Sheriff's office says deputies attempted to make a traffic stop on a truck that was traveling at a high rate of speed westbound on M-20 near Costabella road in Wheatland Township.


The truck is best described as a mid-to-late-2000’s model dark blue Ford F-150 4 door pick-up truck that was covered in gravel road dirt. The truck also had silver insignia on the truck panels and had a black tonneau cover that was not secured to the bed of the truck flopping around as it drove. It was also reported the truck had two male occupants inside the vehicle.  


The suspect truck took police on a short pursuit it was then terminated near 12-mile road and 10th Ave in Wheatland Township.


The Sheriff’s office is asking anyone with knowledge of this incident that may help to identify the driver of the vehicle, please call the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office at 231-592-0150 or reach out to our email tip line at

RSV cases on the rise this fall in Michigan

A warning has been issued after an unexpected rise in RSV cases across the state this fall.


It usually peaks in the winter.


Respiratory syncytial virus is highly contagious and spreads through droplets in the air after a cough or sneeze.


Symptoms are usually mild and may mimic a cold, but RSV can cause severe infection in some people, including infants and young children, older adults, or people who are immunocompromised.


Individuals with cold-like symptoms are being asked to not interact with children and other individuals at high risk for RSV.

Spectrum Health Reed City Walk-In Clinic pauses services

To continue providing exceptional same-day care to our community, the Spectrum Health Reed City
Convenient Care Walk-In Clinic will be temporarily consolidating with the Big Rapids
Walk-In Clinic beginning October 5.

Reed City team members will be joining forces with the Big Rapids Walk-In Clinic to
support ongoing high patient volumes for walk-in services and COVID-19 screenings for
patients with symptoms.

Additionally, the Big Rapids Walk-In Clinic, located at 650 Linden Street, Suite 1, in Big
Rapids, will be extending hours to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“A very tight labor market is affecting businesses across the country, including health
care,” said Andrea Leslie, President of Spectrum Health Big Rapids, Reed City, United
and Kelsey Hospitals. “We will temporarily consolidate walk-in clinic services in Big
Rapids while we continue to aggressively look to hire additional team members.”
The Reed City Multispecialty Clinic will still be open normal hours and established
patients can be seen same-day via available appointments.

Ongoing evaluations of patient volumes, community spread of COVID-19 and staffing
needs will be addressed frequently to determine when the Reed City Walk-In Clinic will

In a medical emergency, patients are reminded to call 911 or visit their nearest hospital
emergency department.

Spectrum Health is working hard to hire essential team members to fill several open
positions in several departments, many with sign-on bonuses available. Please
encourage friends and family to consider a career at Big Rapids and Reed City Hospitals
by viewing job postings at

No School buses this week for Newaygo Public Schools due to lack of bus drivers

Newaygo Public Schools will not be providing buses for students this week due to a lack of bus drivers.


That's according to Superintendent Jeff Wright, in a Facebook post.


He said there are simply not enough drivers to cover all of their routes.


Wright said the school tried to combine and cancel some routes, but it became impossible to safely drive kids to school.

Emergency plane landing on US-10 in Osceola County Wednesday

An airplane made an emergency landing on a northern Michigan freeway yesterday.


The Osceola County Sheriff says two men used US-10 as an emergency airport after experiencing technical difficulties.


Multiple police units worked to escort the plane from the freeway to the County Road Commission gravel pit.


They say there were no injuries.

Consumers Energy to host event at Brower Park to celebrate recent grant to Dragon Trail

Consumers Energy is hosting a family fun event on Friday, October 8, from 2:30 - 6 pm, at Mecosta County’s Brower Park to celebrate the Consumers Energy Foundation’s recent $200,000 grant and other partnerships bringing Michigan’s Dragon at Hardy Dam (Dragon Trail) to life.


The event was originally scheduled for August, but regional storms forced the schedule change.


The Dragon Trail, when complete, will be an estimated 47-mile non-motorized, multi-use trail forming a loop around the Hardy Pond Reservoir.


“Each step along the journey to complete this epic recreational trail is worthy of celebration,” said Carolyn Bloodworth, secretary/treasurer of the Consumers Energy Foundation. “We’re hoping for a huge public turnout Friday which we promise to make fun for all including dedicated mountain bikers who want to check out excellent riding opportunities the trail already offers and for families looking for fun activities outdoors in beautiful northern Michigan.”


This free event, which is open to the public, will feature food and refreshments, kids’ activities, and more, all complements of Consumers Energy.

Dragon Trail in Mecosta County expands another 4.5 miles

Another four and a half miles has opened at the Dragon Trail in Mecosta County.


The pathway is now just over 19 miles long. The new portion includes a bridge and multiple boardwalk crossings over creeks.


Around five additional miles will be added this year. Once complete, the Dragon Trail will span almost 47 miles long, running through both Mecosta County and Newaygo County.


The trail can be used for mountain biking, hiking, and running.


“Though much of Brower Park will be closing for the season in early October, the newly installed Dragon Trail Parking Area within Brower Park will remain open year-round,” said Mecosta County Parks Superintendent Jeff Abel.

There is a fee pipe payment station in the park that visitors can use to park there. Vault toilets will be available during the off-season months; however, riders are encouraged to bring their own water and other needed supplies.


Trail users can find an updated and printable map at, complete with QR codes directing visitors to trailheads and parking.

Rockford man injured following motorcycle/deer accident

A Rockford man is recovering after hitting a deer with his motorcycle.


It happened just before 12:30 Sunday morning on 12-mile road near 192nd Ave in Mecosta Township.


The Mecosta County Sheriff's Office says a 26-year-old Rockford man was traveling east bound on 12-mile rd. when a deer ran out in front of him and he was unable to stop in time. 


The driver was transported to Spectrum Health Big Rapids campus with non-life threatening injuries.

Police looking for suspected drunk driver after fleeing the scene of accident

Police in Mecosta County are on the lookout for a driver who was in a suspected drunk driving accident that left a passenger with serious injuries. 


The Mecosta County Sheriff's Office says deputies were called to a one vehicle accident on 13-Mile Road and 190th Avenue in Mecosta Township.


An investigation determined a Ford F-150 pickup truck was traveling eastbound on 13 Mile Rd and 190th Ave at a high rate of speed.  The driver lost control, ran off the roadway and struck a tree. 


The driver then fled the scene leaving his injured passenger pinned in the vehicle.  Witnesses state the driver was picked up by another person that appeared to be following them.  That vehicle is described as a white Buick SUV with a female driver. 


Deputies check the area and the local hospitals for the driver; however, the driver was not located.


The 27-year-old passenger was transported to the Big Rapids ER with serious injuries. 


Alcohol is believed to be a factor in the accident.


The Mecosta County Sheriff’s is asking for help identifying the driver of the F-150 and the white Buick SUV. 


If you have any information, please contact the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office or Meceola Central Dispatch. 


Two arrested in Deerfield Township on drug charges


Two Morley residents were arrested on drug charges, according to the Mecosta County Sheriff's Office.


50-year old John Towne and 25-year old Amberlyn Vanspriell were arrested in Deerfield Township on Monday.


Deputies say Towne, who was wanted on an Outstanding Felony Warrant at the time of the bust, fled on foot into the woods, yelling at police he had a gun.  After a foot pursuit, Towne was apprehended after being tased by Deputies.  He was found to be unarmed. He remains in custody in the Mecosta County Jail, with a $100,000 bond.


Vanspriell was arrested for delivery of heroin and remains in custody in the Mecosta County Jail, with a $3,000 bond, after being arraigned in the 77th District Court.

Newaygo man arrested after taking police on 3 county chase

A 19-year old Newaygo man is in police custody after taking sheriff deputies on a chase through three counties.


It began Wednesday, in Newaygo County's Big Prairie Township, that's where Deputies tried to perform a traffic stop on a burgundy BMW for vehicle violations and the suspet's car took off.


During the pursuit the BMW went north on S Elm Ave from E 36th St, east on E Baseline Rd and then went into Mecosta County. Members of the Central Michigan Enforcement Team (CMET) located the BMW on US 131 and followed it as it returned to Newaygo County at E 36th St and S Newcosta Ave. Members of the Sheriff’s Office again tried to stop it on S Croton-Hardy Dr near E 48th St. The vehicle then went into Montcalm County where members of the Sheriff’s Office lost sight of it. While searching the area, the Sheriff’s Office located the vehicle south on Amy School Rd south of Tamarack Rd.


The BMW then went west on Gates Rd and then into a private driveway.


A 19-year-old Newaygo man was taken into custody without incident and lodged at the Newaygo County Jail.

Child care providers to benefit from bipartisan state budget bill

Michigan will make more kids eligible for child care subsidies, equip state troopers with body cameras, and make permanent a pandemic wage hike for caregivers under the next state budget.


The bipartisan spending plan also will boost payments for child care providers and enable them to give $1,000 bonuses to new or existing staff.


Michigan's savings account will grow by 500 million dollars.


As part of the deal, Governor Gretchen Whitmer agreed to a Republican-written provision to prevent the state and local governments from issuing coronavirus vaccine requirements that go further than plans outlined by President Joe Biden.

Stuff a cop car event to take place in October

The Big Rapids Police Department, the Mecosta County Sheriff's Office, and the
Ferris State University Department of Public Safety, in partnership with the Faith Communities
of Big Rapids, are teaming up to collect non-perishable items for Manna Pantry of Big Rapids.

This event is held in conjunction with National Faith and Blue Weekend.

Come out to the Big Rapids Meijer, Walmart, or Aldi on Saturday, October 9th, from 9:00 A.M.
until 12:00 P.M. to stuff a police car FULL of items. Items needed are soup, peanut butter, jelly,
spaghetti sauce, pasta, hamburger helper, gelatin/pudding boxes, saltine crackers, Spam, mac and
cheese, tuna fish, canned fruit, veggies, pork n beans, cereal, toilet paper, syrup, canned
chicken, toothpaste, and toothbrushes.

Faith & Blue Weekend is a national event with activities in communities across the country that
bring together law enforcement and residents to build connections, create mutual
understanding, and enhance justice and reconciliation.

If you have any questions, please contact Office William Sell at 231-527-0005 or

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