Mike Taylor

Scrapbooking is one indoor hobby that the entire family can get into during the winter months. (Courtesy photo)

S.H.E.: Picking up a new hobby can pass the time of winter’s doldrums

The word “hobbies” may bring to mind passive (and maybe a little dull) time-passers like puzzles, games on your cell phone or pointless card games of Solitaire, things one tends to do when there’s nothing better going on. But hobbies also can include group activities that not only pass the time, but foster creativity and interpersonal relationships.

Electrical problems that have cause several Christmas lights in downtown Lakeview to go dark will soon be repaired, according to Village Manager Jake Eckholm. — Daily News/Mike Taylor

Christmas lights will be back on soon in Lakeview

Residents of this village are likely wondering if the Grinch has been working his nefarious magic on the town’s downtown Christmas lights.

For the past several weeks, they’ve been on again and off again.

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JUST IN: Lakeview Christmas lights on the fritz

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the village, and then again, it’s not. Problems with the main street Christmas lighting has been causing headaches for the village Department of Public Works since they were installed earlier this winter.

Greenville area JC Penney customers enjoy dealing with sales associates who recognize them by name, according to store manager Kristin Middaugh. — Daily News/Mike Taylor

BUSINESS BEAT: JCPenney celebrates 25 years in Greenville

Customer service and traditional department store bargains: These are the two factors that most contribute to a local retail outlet’s longevity, according to JCPenney manager Kristin Middaugh.

Certainly there are other factors as well: Quality merchandise, national name recognition, large selection. But it’s that personal touch that makes all the difference, Middaugh says, particularly in a small town like Greenville.

Christmas Store organizer Kelli Medler said she was a bit overwhelmed by the outpouring of generosity shown by Trufant residents, as well as those from neighboring communities. Today’s event, originally planned for The Lighthouse in Trufant, had to be moved to larger quarters at the Maple Valley Complex due to the number of donations coming in. — Courtesy photo

Christmas Store in Trufant offers free goods to families today

“She’s selfless and has a heart as big as the moon.”

That’s the way Angie Bratty describes her friend, Kelli Medler.

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Montcalm County Angel Tree program brings Christmas joy to children

A rosy-cheeked youngster standing in rapt wonder before a present-laden Christmas tree is an image with which we all are familiar.

The scene is so common, in fact, so comfortable, that we sometimes forget it is one not played out in every American home.

The entire Battle family gathered Wednesday morning in Montcalm County Probate Court to make their adoption of two toddlers, Kaylee and Jameson, official. Pictured are, from left, Kelsey, Troy, Alexis, Kaylee, Philip, Barbara and Jameson Battle, and Judge Charles Simon III, who presided over the procedure. — Daily News/Mike Taylor

Howard City family has two new reasons to be thankful this year

Typically, judges take a dim view of participants in courtroom proceedings running up and down the aisles while emitting ear-piercing screams at the top of their lungs. But last Wednesday, Montcalm County Probate Judge Charles Simon III made an exception to this rule.

Mersen makes some of the largest graphite parts in the world. — Daily News/Mike Taylor

Made in Our Own Backyard: Mersen

Pencil lead. That’s what most people think of when they hear the word “graphite.” It’s understandable, considering graphite has been used in pencils since the mid-1600s (incidentally, actual lead never was used in the manufacture of pencils — it was always graphite).

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JUST IN: Injuries incurred in M-57 accident

OAKFIELD TOWNSHIP — At least two people were injured in an accident that took place near the intersection of M-57 and Holmden Drive Tuesday morning. According to Michigan State Police at the scene, a westbound vehicle on M-57 was stopped to turn left when another vehicle — driven by an allegedly inattentive driver — came up behind [...]

A second head-on vehicle collision on the day happened, this one on Sidney Road, just north of M-91. Montcalm County Sheriff's Office reported no fatalities, however, the "Jaws of Life" apparatus was used to extract at least one victim.

JUST IN: Two-car collision involving children on Sidney Road

A second head-on vehicle collision today happened on Sidney Road near M-91, involving two vehicles. Victims included children.