The Barryton Area Mobile Food Pantry celebrates 10 years

The Barryton Area Mobile Food Pantry is celebrating 10 years of giving local residents a hand up every month!

What started out as a class project for the 2009 class of Leadership Mecosta, the Barryton Area Mobile Food Pantry has been providing 10,000 pounds of food each month to those in need. Thanks to the support of local area business partners, individual contributors and many, many local volunteers up to 200 families are able to get 50 or more pounds of food thru our connection with Feeding America each month.

The distributions are usually the second Saturday of every month, with the exception of the month of May, when it is the first Saturday.  Located at the Fork Township Community Building at 3265 20 Mile Rd. in Barryton, sign up starts at noon with the truck arriving for a 2 p.m. distribution.  To receive food, please bring 2 current pieces of I.D. or something with your current address on it and a wagon, basket, box, cart etc. to assist you with putting your food in your vehicle.

Project Starburst Chosen as a Local Recipient of Stamp Out Hunger

Since 1993, the Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger® Food Drive has been the U.S.’s largest one-day drive, held annually on the second Saturday in May. #StampOutHunger
Each year on the second Saturday in May, the National Association of Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger® Food Drive spreads out across America to help provide assistance to Americans who are struggling with hunger. 
This year, Project Starburst, located at 120 S. State Street in Big Rapids, will be a local recipient of the food drive.

The all-volunteer Food Drive effort is the nation’s largest single-day drive. In 2016, 80 million pounds of food was collected, which brought the grand total of donations to more than 1.5 billion pounds of food collected since the drive began in 1992.

The need for food assistance remains a problem in America.

For more information about the annual Letter Carriers’ Food Drive effort in your community, ask your letter carrier, follow the drive at or visit

Meceola Tech to Offer Electrical Training

Meceola Tech and Sullivan Training Systems announces a 4-day, 32-hour Essential Diagnostics Electrical Training, June 4-6, 2019 — 8:00 am-4:30 pm
June 7, 2019 — 8:00 AM – 2:30 PM

Essential Electrical Diagnostics is a comprehensive, hands-on course designed specifically for technicians. It applies to those who work in the automotive, heavy equipment, and truck industry or in an industrial setting. This course teaches all the necessary fundamental electrical concepts that up-to-date technicians need to troubleshoot electrical systems. It also prepares technicians for higher level training.
The highlight of the class will be learning how to use the voltmeter with greater accuracy and confidence to avoid the costly and annoying practice of disconnecting circuits and using the ohmmeter with jumper wires.
Students will build OEM-based circuits, use these circuits for experimentation and meter/schematic reading exercises, and at the end of the class, will have a 5-HOUR hands-on troubleshooting test where they will diagnose and repair 30 faults in six circuits – never using the ohmmeter.
This class covers the full range of the principles of electrical troubleshooting — from Ohm’s Law to Fundamental Computer Diagnostics — but it IS NOT a watered-down curriculum. The course is fast-paced and very demanding, yet easily grasped and very effective because it uses hands-on, practical projects that parallel the discussion and lecture.
The focus is on diagnostic thinking, circuit analysis, and system operation.

Students must bring to class digital multimeters and schematics for the equipment they work on. Please bring schematic chapter to include key legends and all relative information. If you are purchasing multimeter, make sure it is an auto ranging meter.

$750.00 includes the cost of LOAD pro Leads and FET Shop book.

For more information or TO REGISTER contact:

Meceola Tech
15830 190th Avenue
Big Rapids, MI 49307
Phone: 231-796-5805 – training resources – business and industry training

Payments are due prior to the start of class in the form of cash, credit card or check (made payable to Mecosta-Osceola Career Center). No-shows will be invoiced.

Downtown Big Rapids Named Quarter-finalist for America’s Main Streets Contest

Support Downtown Big Rapids by Voting Today!


BIG RAPIDS, MI —The national small business movement, Independent We Stand, announces the quarterfinalists, including Downtown Big Rapids, in the 2019 “America’s Main Streets” contest. As the lifeblood of our cities and towns, Main Streets play an important role in the long-term success of communities and help build a sense of place. Independent We Stand invites the public to vote for their favorite quarterfinalist and move a deserving Main Street one step closer to the grand prize of $25,000.

Josh Pyles, Executive Director of the Big Rapids Downtown Business Association states, “I am proud to call Big Rapids my home and to see the growth that has come in recent years. If we can continue to come together as a community like we always do when it counts, then I’d be very excited to see what more we can accomplish in our Downtown.”

“I think this just goes to show that great things can happen when we work together!”  says Megan Eppley, Programming and Events Coordinator of the Mecosta County Area Chamber of Commerce. “Big Rapids is such and amazing community. It warms my heart makes me proud to see the amount of community pride that comes out of a campaign like this.”

Downtown Big Rapids is the home to many unique businesses and events, such as Summer Fest, the Pocket Park Summer Concert Series, Fall Fest, and Home for the Holidays, to name a few. The Big Rapids Downtown Farmers’ Market opens on Tuesdays and Fridays beginning May 10 and runs through October 25. The November Festival of Lights Parade is an annual holiday favorite for the entire community.

Nearly 230,000 total votes were cast for 232 entrants during the nominations phase. The only community from Michigan to make it in to the top 25 participants, this is the second year in a row that Big Rapids has participated in this contest.  The 2019 quarterfinalists in alphabetical order are:

Semifinalist voting begins April 29 at and runs through May 26. Voters may vote 24 times every 24 hours.

The top 10 semifinalists will be announced May 27. The winner of the 2019 “America’s Main Streets” contest will be announced June 3 followed by a “Main Streets Make Us Better” celebration on the Fourth of July, when the winner will announce how the prize money will be used.

Additional contest prizes include:

  • STIHL Equipment Certificate for $1,000 worth of STIHL equipment good at any STIHL Dealer in the U.S.
  • Do it Best Corp. $500 shopping spree
  • Free One Day Downtown Assessment from Flip This Town
  • Nationwide Marketing Group $500 shopping spree
  • PPG Paints $500 shopping spree
  • Public relations and social media recognition
  • A special plaque for the winner to proudly display


For more information on Downtown Big Rapids visit: or contact Josh Pyles at (231) 592-4000.

Presenting Sponsor:

STIHL Inc., America’s number-one selling brand of gasoline-powered handheld outdoor power equipment*, is the founding sponsor of Independent We Stand and the presenting sponsor of America’s Main Streets contest. The company follows a unique distribution strategy in the handheld outdoor power equipment industry, choosing never to sell products at big box stores, but instead remain loyal to its 9,000+ authorized local STIHL Dealers nationwide.

 Supporting Sponsors:

About Independent We Stand

Independent We Stand is a nationwide movement of independent small business owners whose mission is to inspire other small business owners to better understand and celebrate their locally owned status while educating consumers about the importance and strong economic benefits of supporting them. The Independent We Stand movement is sponsored by STIHL Inc. STIHL products are sold through more than 9,000 authorized local STIHL Dealers from coast to coast – not big box stores. Associate sponsors include Nationwide Marketing Group, PPG and Do it Best Corp.

*”Number one selling brand” is based on syndicated Irwin Broh Research as well as independent consumer research of 2009-2018 U.S. sales and market share data for the gasoline-powered handheld outdoor power equipment category combined sales to consumers and commercial landscapers.

Small Business Summit

53367911_2256434824418209_7902791093664612352_oFor the first time ever, the Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC), SCORE Grand Rapids, and Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women (GROW) have teamed up to offer a regional Small Business Summit in Grand Rapids on Monday, April 29th.  The Summit will provide a full day of interactive workshops, mentoring and networking for both new and existing businesses and entrepreneurs.

Local experts will present workshops on a variety of topics under four different business tracks: Beginning Your Journey, Your Growth Trajectory, Marketing Magic, and Financial Matters.  Participants can customize their day with a combination of the four tracks and/or choose to receive business consultations throughout the event.  As an added bonus, participants will also have the opportunity to pitch for $1,000 with the possibility of winning $20,000 later on.

Our special guests will be Constance Logan, Michigan SBA District Director, who will provide opening remarks and Anne Cork, owner of Annabelle Noel Designs, who will be the Keynote Speaker during lunch. The SBDC, SCORE, and GROW are all funded-partners of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The summit is being sponsored by the West Michigan CRA Association, Fifth Third Bank, and West Michigan Community Bank who will all have representatives at the event to discuss anyone’s financing needs.   For more information or to register for the event, click on the following link.

Mental Health First Aid


Did you miss the opportunity to attend our lunch and learn primer on the Mental Health First Aid program? Here is your opportunity attend the full workshop!

Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour course that teaches you how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The training gives you the skills you need to reach out and provide initial help and support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem or experiencing a crisis.

Community Mental Health of Central Michigan is offering the full 8-hour course on Wednesday, May, 22, 2019 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Big Rapids City Hall, located at 226 N. Michigan Avenue in Big Rapids.

Cost is $20 per participant. Lunch will not be provided, but the class will break from 12:00 to 12:30 p.m.

Space is limited. To register, please contact Brandon at 231-832-2247, or email at

To learn more about the program, visit

The 125th Anniversary of The FSU College of Pharmacy: A Musical Celebration

Ferris State University’s History Task Force, College of Pharmacy, College of Arts and image001Sciences, and the Department of Humanities present the 2019 Spring Band & Orchestra Concert, The 125th Anniversary of The FSU College of Pharmacy: A Musical Celebration, Sunday, April 28th at 4:00 p.m. at the G. Mennen Williams Auditorium in Big Rapids. This concert will celebrate important moments in the history of pharmacy since ancient times, up through and including its history at Ferris State University.

Attendees will enjoy performances by The FSU Symphony Band, The FSU West Central Concert Band, and The FSU West Central Chamber Orchestra, with direction by Dr. Richard Scott Cohen and Dr. Dale E. Skornia. This program will also feature announcements by Dr. Donna Smith, presentations by Mr. Jim Bock, Pharmacy Class of 1966, Rachel Krahulik, Pharmacy Class of 2021, Dr. Stephen W. Durst, Dean of the College of Pharmacy, and Dr. Richard Hult, FSU Professor Emeritus, Pharmacy Class of 1968. Attendees will also hear from members of the WCCB & Symphony Band Saxophone Sections.

Also included in the event will be the annual Student Recognition Program, graduating student acknowledgements, Kappa Kappa Psi Band Fraternity Awards, Susan & Ernest Wenger Band Scholarships Awards, S. Eugene Bychinsky Musicians of Promise Scholarship Awards, and Dacho & Ruth Dachoff Outstanding Musician Scholarship Awards.

Musical selections will include Fanfare 125, by Richard Scott Cohen, Saxophonia, by Stephen Bulla, Ferris Fidelity, by Graham T. Overgard, Persian Passage, by Jeremy Woolstenhulme, An American in Paris, by George Gershwin,

New World Symphony, Finale, by Antonin Dvorak, German Dance No. 2, by Ludwig van Beethoven, and the world premiere of The Staff of Asclepius, by Harry Dempsey.

Anyone with a disability who needs special accommodations to attend this program must contact (231) 591-3676 or at least 72 hours in advance of event.

For additional information, please contact Dr. Richard Scott Cohen, Director of Instrumental Concert Ensembles, Professor of Music, Ferris State University, 1030 Campus Drive, Big Rapids, MI 49307 or call

(231)591-2484 or email To learn more about FSU Music, visit

Isabella Bank Announces Promotion of Eling to Market President

Mount Pleasant, MI, April 22, 2019 – Jerome Schwind, President of Isabella Bank

Josh Eling color 3-2019
Josh Eling

announced the promotion of Josh Eling to West Market President.  In his new role, Josh will oversee five branches in the area: Barryton, Big Rapids East, Big Rapids West, Canadian Lakes, and Remus.  

“Josh has been an asset for us since joining Isabella Bank.  His commitment to his customers, team, and the Mecosta area are evident and make him an excellent choice for the west market president.” stated Schwind.  “We look forward to the growth Josh will continue to bring to the Mecosta area.”

Josh earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Central Michigan University, a Master in Business Administration from Ferris State University, a graduate from Michigan Bankers Association (MBA) Perry School of Banking, and the Dale Carnegie Team Development Program.  He is past president of the Big Rapids Rotary and the Mecosta County Area Chamber of Commerce. Josh and his wife, Christie, live in Big Rapids with their children, Emma and Parker.

Isabella Bank has 30 locations throughout seven Mid-Michigan counties and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Isabella Bank Corporation (OTCQX:ISBA).  Isabella Bank Corporation has $2.5 billion in assets under management and more than 400 employees. For the past five years, the Corporation has been recognized on the Detroit Free Press list of “Top Workplaces.”  To learn more, visit

Call for Collections!

call-to-collectors-2019-page-001.jpgDo you have an unusual collection? Artworks of Big Rapids, located at 106 N. Michigan Avenue, is planning an exhibit of collections and wants to showcase your collections!

This exhibit, on display during August and September, will allow collectors to share selected collection pieces in the galleries at Artworks in downtown Big Rapids. The organization is looking for 2D and 3D art or collectables to review for inclusion in this exhibit.

Photographs and descriptions of your collections can be emailed to Pat Heeter at at JPG or PDF files by April 26th, 2019.

Photos can also be submitted by mail Attn: Pat Heeter.

MSU Extension to offer Cooking for One

Cooking for oneWhether you’re living on your own for the first time, a single college student, a hard-working adult, or a senior on your own, cooking for one can be fun!

The Michigan State University Extension, located in the Mecosta County Services Building at 14485 Northland Drive in Big Rapids Is offering ‘Cooking for One,” a six-week cooking course, taking place June 25,  July 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Over the course of six, 2-hour lessons, you will:

  • Learn ways to make cooking for one simple and enjoyable
  • Learn helpful tips and tricks to making healthy choices, like eating well and being active
  • Participate in cooking real recipes for one

For more information, contact Renee Sanders at 231-592-0792 or