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Dozens rally in Holland for local restaurant owner

Posted at 9:49 PM, Mar 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-20 22:00:11-04

HOLLAND, Mich. — Dozens of people rallied in Holland Saturday afternoon to show support for a local restaurant owner.

Attendees gathered at Johnson Park in Walker before driving to Marlena’s Bistro and Pizzeria. The rally started just after 3 p.m.

Marlena Pavlos-Hackney, the restaurant’s owner, remains in the Ingham County jail after Michigan State Police arrested her Fridayon an outstanding warrant for contempt of court.

In January, the state suspended her food license after investigators said she “willfully” ignored the state’s indoor dining ban and other COVID-19 restrictions and alleged a customer contracted coronavirus there, putting the community’s health at risk.

After the restaurant continued to operate, earlier this month, an Ingham County judge ordered the arrest.

Friday, following Pavlos-Hackney’s arrest, a separate judge ordered Pavlos-Hackney to stay in jail until a $7,500 fine is paid and the restaurant is closed.

Pavlos-Hackney’s attorney says they’re working to comply with the request.

“We came out for our friend Marlena, who is taking a stand, and we’re very proud of her,” Julie Vanderploug said. "We sat with her yesterday in the courthouse and very hard to see her shackled like a hardcore criminal when she’s done nothing wrong.”

Vanderplough, and other people who attended Saturday’s rally, expressed concerns with Pavlos-Hackney’s arrest.

People in attendance also took issue with the state’s virus restrictions, feeling as if it infringes on personal civil rights and liberties.

“We don’t like the direction our country is going,” Lynda Barenes said. “It scares me to death, and yeah, we’re fighting for our freedoms.”

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