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Fred Russell, 17, is graduating from Belding High School this evening. Russell came close to not being able to graduate, but he worked hard to overcome multiple challenges in his life. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

Belding senior to graduate after facing many challenges in home life

Fred Russell hasn’t had an easy life. He and his three younger brothers and older sister have had to contend with a difficult living situation most of their lives. During his high school years, Fred moved for various reasons 10 different times.

Don Vanderkooi and his dog, Barron, high five after a successful find of a subject at Ric’s Food Center in Rockford during a training exercise Friday afternoon. They participated in a weekend-long training seminar put on by Kent County Search and Rescue in collaboration with Search and Rescue Dogs of the United States. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

Kent County Search and Rescue group hosts seminar

Dogs are man’s best friend and have been a source of companionship for humans for thousands of years. Noses endowed with impeccable senses of smell turn everyday canines into heroes after the right training.

An electronic sign that scrolls messages for community-related events and other goings-on in the city sits at the intersection of Bridge Street and Congress Street in Belding. The sign was made possible through donations from the Leppinks family. What the sign should display was the topic for a work session during Tuesday evening’s regular City Council meeting. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

Belding council talks electronic sign usage

The uses of a newly installed electric sign were up for debate Tuesday evening. The Belding City Council opened up a work session to talk about the electronic sign.

The Community-As-School (CAS) program at Belding High School is going to make a comeback in the next academic year. Teacher Ed Albert will be running the program as he has in the past. He talked to more than 100 students at an informational meeting about the program Tuesday. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

Belding High School to revive CAS co-op program

Belding High School students lost access to the Community-As-School (CAS) program in 2011 as a result of changes in state-mandated curriculum. Six years later, due to recent changes in curriculum requirements, students once again will have access to the CAS program.

Summer Eubank, 17, Aurora Perez, 18, Cassidy Zuver, 18, and Cali Huddleston, 18, check out the selection of special occasion dresses donated from Forest Hills Eastern High School to Belding High School. The schools partnered to bring more than 100 special occasion dresses to Belding for students to choose from for free for tonight’s prom and upcoming school awards events. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

Neighboring school donates 110 formal dresses to Belding High School

Prom season has arrived, which means fancy clothes, dinners out, hair appointments, nail appointments and hours and hours of primping. All of this can add up quickly and the cost of going to prom is just too high for some. To help alleviate the burden of cost, Belding Area Schools Superintendent Brent Noskey reached out to Forest Hills Eastern High School Principal Steve Harvey to ask if they would be interested in running a dress drive.

A temporary art installation was unveiled Friday to students at Belding High School. The project is comprised of photos of students and staff holding up dry erase boards with single adjectives to describe themselves. The photos are arranged to spell out “We are BHS.” The project is meant to inspire unity. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

Belding art students unveil installation

Each year, Andrea Sprague works with her 3-D design students to craft an art installation to be displayed at Belding High School. Installations in the past have been both temporary and permanent fixtures in the school. This year’s will be temporary, but Sprague is hopeful the effects will continue to ripple throughout the school even after the installation is removed.

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Leppinks honored with clock dedication

A new clock tower is now standing in downtown Belding. While the new one is only a fraction of the size of the previous clock tower the city was so well-known for, Mayor Ron Gunderson said he hopes it will be a symbol of rejuvenation and renaissance for Belding.

From left, Ionia County’s 64A District Court Judge Raymond Voet, Ionia County Probate Judge Robert Sykes, Ionia County Commissioner and Vice Chairman Jim Banks, Commissioner Brenda Cowling-Cronk, Commissioner Georgia Sharp, County Administrator Stephanie Fox and Physical Plant Director Scott De Ruischer prepare to break ground Monday afternoon at the future site of the Ionia County Courthouse addition. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

Ground broken on long-awaited Ionia County Courthouse addition

Ionia County officials broke ground on a long-awaited addition to the county courthouse Monday afternoon.

Ionia County Commissioner and Vice Chairman Jim Banks said this project has been a long time in the works. He told the people gathered for the groundbreaking, including Belding City Manager Bruce Brown and Ionia City Manager Jason Eppler, the idea for additional facilities dates as far back as 2002.

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Belding High School hosts forgiveness-themed event

Through religious faith, two men who by all accounts should never be friends are defying the odds. Benton Harbor natives Jameel McGee and Andrew Collins visited Belding High School on Saturday evening to tell the story of how they overcome their substantial differences to establish a friendship.

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IN BRIEF: Belding board approves contract renewal

The Belding Board of Education approved a contract renewal during Monday evening’s regular meeting.