Elisabeth Waldon

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IN BRIEF: Montcalm County to implement Adopt-A-Park program

Montcalm County parks will remain open, as long as sponsors and townships agree to to help.

The Montcalm County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted Monday to authorize the county’s Parks & Rec Committee to implement an Adopt-A-Park program for the county’s park system.

From left to right, Mecosta-Osceola 49th Circuit Court Judge Scott Hill-Kennedy, HOPE Program Chief Probation Supervisor Cheryl Inouye, Hawaii Judge Steven Alm and Ionia-Montcalm 8th Judicial Circuit Court judges Suzanne Hoseth Kreeger and Ronald Schafer met Friday at the Montcalm County Courthouse in Stanton to discuss Alm’s HOPE program. — Courtesy photo

HOPEful new approach to probation, parole

A Hawaii judge came all the way to Montcalm County to meet with local judges who are hoping to follow in the footsteps of a successful approach to a probation program.

Judge Steven Alm, who has been a circuit court judge since 2001, created Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement program (or HOPE). He created the program after witnessing a high failure rate in Hawaii’s probation system; offenders who were up to 20 probation violations with no improvement, and the only options being used were talking to them or sending them to prison.

The Montcalm Area Master Gardeners Association and teenagers from throughout West Michigan worked together Wednesday to plant a garden at the Bill Braman Center for Family Education in Greenville. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Volunteers plant pollinator gardens at Braman Center in Greenville

Several dozen pairs of green thumbs were hard at work Wednesday in an effort to beautify a local educational facility. A group of youths from the Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan worked alongside members of the Montcalm Area Master Gardeners Association to create a garden at the Bill Braman Center for Family Education on Montcalm Community College’s Greenville campus. The Braman Center features technology labs for advanced manufacturing applications, health-related training options, renewable energy studies and more.

Julia and the Greensides, a contemporary folk band from Muskegon, will be the headliners at a series of concerts Saturday evening as part of the inaugural Taste of Montcalm festival in Stanton. — Courtesy photo

Stanton readies for its first Taste of Montcalm

What does Montcalm County taste like? Festival-goers will have a chance to vote for some of their favorite local restaurants at the inaugural Taste of Montcalm from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday at D. Hale Brake Park in Stanton. The festival is free.

Former Lakeview High School principal Gary Jensen, at right, smiles June 5 as the graduating seniors of Lakeview High School’s class of 2016 repeat a mantra he taught them years ago: “I love Mr. Jensen, and Mr. Jensen loves me.” — File photo

Former Lakeview High School principal appointed CEO of 4 Detroit schools

The words came to Gary Jensen in the middle of a difficult school assembly as he strived to capture the attention of distracted and struggling students. “I love Mr. Jensen, and Mr. Jensen loves me.”

The Howard City Department of Public Works is comprised of, from left, Shane Smith, Director Mike VanWagner, Joe Krogman, Bill Cornelisse and Joe Cornelisse. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

‘Hostile workplace’: Howard City DPW employees and village officials clash

The Howard City Village Council voted Monday to cut by half the amount of personal/sick hours for village employees, saving $3,400. The move came after a recommendation from the village’s employee committee to change the employee manual to reduce personal/sick hours and to not pay DPW employees for being on call. The committee is comprised of Village Manager-President Randy Heckman and council members Cheryl Smith and Janice Williams.

Luke Sawyer

Two sheriff’s deputies leaving Montcalm County amid budget cuts

As budget cuts loom for the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office, two deputies have left or are leaving for other jobs and a third colleague is interviewing for new employment.

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IN BRIEF: Howard City to host Music in the Park

Free community concerts will return to this village next Tuesday.
Howard City Village Manager-President Randy Heckman announced during tonight’s village council meeting that Music in the Park will start June 28 and continue every Tuesday through Aug. 16.

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Fee hikes coming to Montcalm County offices

Montcalm County residents will notice a variety of fee increases for local services starting this summer. On Monday, the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved fee increases in the clerk’s office and register of deeds office to help with the county’s $1.5 million budget deficit.

Children enjoy riding horses at the 2015 Lakeview Summerfest. This year’s Summerfest starts today and continues through Saturday.  — File photo

‘Embracing the lake’ at Lakeview Summerfest

Tamarack Lake will be the star of the show at this weekend’s Lakeview Summerfest. The 330-acre body of water will host two new events this year — a raft race Saturday morning and an airplane fly-in Saturday evening. Summerfest gets underway today and continues through Saturday.