Robin Miller

After Karen Garvey and her husband, Dick (pictured), attended the Mackinaw Mush in Mackinaw City, they discovered the thrill of speed in dog sledding. The Garveys belong to Mid Union Sled Haulers (MUSH) and compete in three-dog and five-dog sprints of seven to 10 miles. — Courtesy photo

Edmore family finds thrills in dog sledding

Karen Garvey of Edmore has always enjoyed winter sports. When Bradys’ Hills, a downhill ski area near Lakeview, closed during her teenage years, she searched for another wintertime activity. She tried cross country skiing, but missed the speed. After she and her husband, Dick, attended the Mackinaw Mush in Mackinaw City, they discovered the thrill of speed in dog sledding, one of North America’s oldest winter sports.

The www.healthcare.gov website provides a wealth of information for individuals, families and small business owners, including tips on navigating the marketplace website and choosing the right plan.

UNDERSTANDING HEALTH REFORM — The basics of the Affordable Care Act

The government shutdown and what seems to have become a political fight over implementation of a new health care law are generating confusion in America. Amid the politics, many Americans are wondering what effect these changes will have on them.

Pat Kidwell’s grandson, Connor, who was born less than two years after she finished treatment, began kindergarten this year. The retired Vestaburg kindergarten teacher is thankful to be alive to experience it with him.

CANCER AWARENESS: Breast cancer survivor is a true believer in yearly mammograms

“I am a true believer in yearly mammograms,” said Pat Kidwell, 63, of Vestaburg. “I have been cancer free for seven-plus years. Every normal mammogram is a blessing.”

“Tater Tots” from Our Savior’s Lutheran Church marched in Saturday’s Edmore Potato Festival parade. — Daily News/Robin Miller

Firefighters, bull riders ride high at Edmore Potato Festival (Photos)

With its roots in potato farming, Edmore served up loads of potatoes — chips, fries, baked and topped with all the fixings — during last weekend’s Potato Festival. But tasty tubers were just a small part of the farming village’s offerings. Activities began Friday night with the seventh annual Home Township Fire Department Appreciation gathering downtown. Great food, fun activities and absolutely perfect weather gave families a way to unwind. For some, it was merely a family outing. For others, it held special meaning of many sacrifices made by local firefighters and others whose eminence will be forever etched in history.

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YES program provides positive reinforcement from Edmore police

This village’s chief of police doesn’t like labels and never gives up on anyone’s ability to learn from mistakes and move forward in a positive direction. Luke Sawyer’s nonjudgmental way of thinking and desire to reward local kids for doing good things laid the groundwork for a new incentive program, Youth of Edmore Shine (YES). The program is backed by Burger King and McDonald’s in Edmore in the form of free food rewards.

Bittersweet and exciting — receiving a high school diploma is a rite of passage. For 37 Montabella High School graduates, this milestone was a transition from high school to a future as an adult. — Daily News/Robin Miller

Montabella High School graduates 37 from the class of 2013

Bittersweet and exciting — receiving a high school diploma is a rite of passage. For 37 Montabella High School graduates, this milestone is merely a transition from high school to a future as an adult. Principal Shane Riley shared details of how things have changed since he was in high school. Stereotypes — preps, jocks, goths, geeks, artists, teacher’s pets or band kids — are left behind.

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HEALTH & WELLNESS: Quit smoking now; ‘miracles are possible’

EDMORE — The American Cancer Society (ACS) celebrated its 100th year anniversary last month. Its efforts have helped improve cancer survival rates and reduce cancer deaths by 20 percent in the last two decades. Today, two out of three people diagnosed in early stages survive for at least five years after diagnosis. Yet, one thing [...]

Ashley Ervin made a manga (Japanese comic book) for her senior project at Montabella High School. It was her dream since fifth grade to create her own manga, and now she plans to take the next step — earn a college degree in game design and development. She begins classes in the fall at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York.

GRADUATION: Montabella graduate Ashley Ervin leaving the farm and heading for New York

Born and raised on a dairy farm in rural Blanchard, Ashley Ervin has always dreamed of being immersed in a large city. Luckily for her, this fall she’s venturing off to college at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in a suburb of Rochester, the third-largest city in New York.

Area 6 Special Olympics Michigan Summer Games Athlete of the Year John Lee of Greenville, right, receives support from Harley Killgore of Greenville Friday at Montabella Junior/Senior High School. — Daily News/Robin Miller

Special Olympians compete at Area 6 Summer Games at Montabella

Nearly 200 Special Olympians from Montcalm and Ionia counties didn’t let a little wet weather rain on their parade at Friday’s Area 6 Special Olympics Michigan (SOMI) Summer Games at Montabella Junior/Senior High School. Activities were moved inside and modified — four square replaced the softball throw, shuffle board replaced bocce ball and plastic horseshoes replaced metal ones.

Springtime planting season is the busiest time of year at Taylor Seed and Grain as Brian Taylor (left) begins to fill and deliver seed orders to local farmers. Jane Vierzen (right) works in sales and provides agronomy services.

MICHIGAN FARM and GARDEN: Six Lakes family’s three businesses engrained in local farming industry

Spring is a busy time for Lakeview’s Brian and Sheri Taylor, who own and operate three businesses that all revolve around farming.