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Local Headlines 10/25/2018

Local Headlines 10/25/2018

Hastings builds on recent growth momentum.

Steven Storrs answers questions from city council members about a request to change the zoning of two parcels on Country Club Drive. Joan Van Houten

Staff Writer

Hastings Community Development Director Dan King reported Monday that two development companies have visited the Royal Coach site owned by local businessman and philanthropist Larry Baum. One of the developers returned for a second inspection Tuesday.

“A third developer has been contacted and given information regarding the site,” King told the city council. “A marketing plan for the Royal Coach, the former Moose Lodge site and the Court Street Planned Urban Development is underway and should be ready for distribution very soon.”

There was also a brief discussion at the October Downtown Development Authority meeting about the Main Street program which is focused on revitalizing downtown Hastings. The DDA has requested scheduling a joint information session with the Barry County Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Business Team. The information session would be facilitated by a representative of the Main Street program. The DDA is interested in potential roles it may play in administration or funding of the program.

King said he and City Manager Jeff Mansfield was interviewed by Channel 3 news and the interviews were broadcast Monday. The station had contacted them and requested to speak with them about the rise of residential development in Hastings. King attributes recent local news coverage for grabbing the attention of media outside of the area.

The city received a $15,000 grant award from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs for entertainment programing in 2019.

“Although down slightly from last year’s award, we were pleased to receive the amount allocated to the city,” he said.

Rotary district governor speaks to Hastings club

Hastings Rotarians greeted District Gov. Jim Cupper (shown here with Hastings Rotary President Emily Doherty) at the Walldorff restaurant Oct. 15. Cupper is the leader of the 54 Rotary clubs in southwestern Michigan and a member of the Kalamazoo Rotary Club. His presentation reminded that, besides serving local communities, Rotary also promotes peace, fights disease, provides clean water, sanitation and hygiene. He urged his listeners to reach out and help others in the community because it does make a difference.

Future of parks and recreation is in public hands

Joan Van Houten

Staff Writer

Hastings is hosting an open meeting from 6 to 7 p.m. this evening in the old brick hatchery building at Fish Hatchery Park seeking public input regarding the planning of parks and recreation in the city.

“We want to learn what residents of Hastings want for parks and recreation in the next 10-20 years,” Public Services Director Lee Hays said. “We also want to hear about what people don't like or want. I hope everyone who has something to share will be there.”

The city anticipates two major projects being the expansion of the trail system and maintenance of equipment in city parks that are old and have been heavily used.

Hays said discussion is expected to include locations of projects and improvements, city parks, expansion of current recreational activities such as bike trails and multi-use trails, as well as ideas for new recreational activities and Charlton Park.

City staff have been contacted by residents also requesting that school parks be considered in the parks and recreation planning, Hays said. The reason given for the request is the frequent use by the public of the parks after hours, which increases maintenance costs for the school district.

“Public input in all areas of planning is very important,” Hays said. “I personally invite all members of our community to attend the meeting tonight. Every opinion counts.”

Father of six dies of heart attack

Taylor Owens

Staff Writer

Roy Bishop, 44, was on his way back from parent-teacher conferences at Fuller Street Elementary in Nashville Thursday, Oct. 18, when he had a fatal massive heart.

Bishop's mother-in-law, Pandora Thornton, said the attack happened at the corner of M-66 and M-79, and Bishop's wife, Megan, pulled into the parking lot of the nearby Dollar General store.

The couple were planning to go to dinner that evening, and had two of their children in the car. It was their fifth wedding anniversary.

Local emergency medical personnel and a medical helicopter arrived on the scene and tried to resuscitate Bishop, but were unsuccessful. His family had a bad history with heart disease, Thornton said.

“They were phenomenal, they worked so hard on him,” Thornton said of the emergency crews. “It was just an extremely hard time.”

Originally from Battle Creek, Bishop and his family moved to Nashville shortly before Roy and Megan were married. Bishop worked at Cargill Kitchen Solutions in Lake Odessa, and had six children, whose ages range from 3 to 21.

“He was one heck of a family man and worked very hard,” said Thornton.

Eastern equine encephalitis found in local deer

Earlier this month, a white-tailed deer with Eastern equine encephalitis was identified and euthanized in Barry County.

EEE is not easily spread between animals or between animals and humans, but humans can get EEE through the bite of an infected mosquito. Most cases of human EEE (95 to 96 percent) do not cause any symptoms, and less than 1 percent develop serious illness.

However, EEE is potentially serious. Symptoms include fever, weakness and muscle and joint pain. More severe illness can cause swelling of the brain and surrounding tissues. Anyone can be affected by EEE, but persons over age 60 and under age 15 are at greatest risk for developing severe disease.

This is the second white-tailed deer found to have EEE in Michigan in 2018. The first was found in Cass County in September. Additionally, one human case of EEE in Michigan was reported in Allegan County earlier this year.

“If you plan to spend time outdoors, protect yourself from mosquito bites by wearing long pants and sleeves and using DEET repellent,” Community Health Promotion Specialist Sarah Surna said in a press release issued Tuesday. ‘Additionally, remove buckets or other items outside your home that can hold standing water, which is where mosquitoes breed.”

She also said people should inspect window screens and repair any holes to keep mosquitoes out of the home. Mosquitoes can survive until there is more consistent frost. More information about EEE can be found at Additionally, domestic horses can be vaccinated for EEE through veterinarians.

Persons experiencing any of symptoms mentioned above should seek medical attention and contact a healthcare provider.

Deer that are exhibiting strange behavior or appear to sick should not be handled or processed. Observations of potentially deer can be reported at

Additional information regarding sick domestic animals, such as horses, livestock or pets, can be obtained by calling the Michigan Department of Agriculture, 517-373-1077.

Dr. Unverise

Dear Dr. Universe:

How did we discover allergies?

Zion, 8, Australia

Dear Zion,

Before humans even came up with the word “allergy,” they observed how some people would get rashes, sneezes or become really, really sick from different things in their environment. Historians even noted how people in ancient civilizations talked about something called “plant fever,” which gave people runny noses.

On the way to discovering allergies, scientists first had to learn about the immune system, which helps protect the body from invaders, or things like bacteria and viruses. These invaders are called antigens, and when they get into your system, your body gets ready to react, releasing something called antibodies to help defend you. The antibodies also will recognize if they’ve come across an invader before. That way they know what to attack in the future. Allergens include things like shellfish, dust, eggs, pollen and insect venom.

Early in the last century, the Austrian scientist Clemens von Pirquet realized that the immune system doesn’t just protect us. This was actually a very big and new idea at the time, which was about 100 years ago. Pirquet helped us understand that while antibodies are on the lookout for invaders like bacteria, sometimes they mistake an allergen as something that is harmful.

The immune system is just trying to do its job, but it isn’t perfect. It can sometimes bring on serious reactions in the body. When people are having an allergic reaction, they will often get a runny nose, itchy eyes and sneeze a lot, but they have more serious reactions like throwing up or having trouble breathing.

Pirquet was actually the scientist who helped coin the term “allergy,” and he used it to talk about how our immune system can react and respond to invaders in different ways. He helped us understand that the immune system can sometimes set off false alarms.

As is often the case with curious science questions, we also can look at this one from another angle. Doctors are discovering different allergies in different people all the time. I talked to my friend Jennifer Robinson about it. She’s a clinical associate professor of pharmacy at Washington State University.

Today we can discover what a person is allergic to with a simple test. Robinson said doctors will often make a tiny scratch on the surface of the person’s skin and inject a little bit of the allergen. Then, they will look for a little redness or swelling near the injection site to see how the body reacts. They are also prepared to respond, just in case the patient gets really sick.

If you do have allergies, doctors may prescribe medicine, have you use a device called an EpiPen, or have you avoid the allergens entirely. We can help make sure our friends with allergies stay safe by keeping allergens away from them, too.

Dr. Universe

Do you have a question? Ask Dr. Universe. Send an email to Washington State University’s resident scientist and writer at or visit her website,



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