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Citizens who attended the Belding Zoning Board of Appeals meeting lined up in order to make sure they made their voices were heard at Tuesday night’s public hearing. The board was hearing a case petitioned by the Reconnecting Tomorrow Center for a special variance to be granted for a homeless shelter to be set up in the basement of the Belding United Methodist Church. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

Belding rejects variance request for proposed homeless shelter

It was standing room only at the Pere Marquette Depot Tuesday evening as people gathered to express their opinions on a proposed homeless shelter. The Reconnecting Tomorrow Center petitioned the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) for a special use ordinance to set up a 30-person shelter in the basement of Belding United Methodist Church at 301 Pleasant St. The church property is zoned for single family homes only.

Belding’s Feliciano Paredes presented his app, Animo!, at a 5x5 Night competition on Oct. 25 at Grand Valley University. The app would connect migrant workers to famers and resources. — Courtesy photo

Belding man creates app for migrant workers

In 2011, Feliciano Paredes, of Belding, was watching the documentary “The Harvest/La Cosecha” directed by U. Roberto Romano, which showcases the struggles migrant children and their families face. “As I was watching it, I was thinking it’s 2011 and we have all this technology people can find anything they want to find,” Paredes said. “You have Yelp and Foursquare, and I thought why can’t there be something for farmworkers, something that’s going to make a really huge impact on a lot of these families.”

Belding’s Flat River Group was ranked No. 1,672 in a list of 5,000 fast growing private companies throughout the United States. The company is in distribution and shipping and acts as a go-between for smaller businesses and large eCommerce companies such as Amazon, Target and Walmart. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

Belding’s Flat River Group exhibiting fast-paced growth

A Belding business has been ranked and recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest growing private companies in America. In its August issue, the magazine rated the top 5,000 fastest growing private companies throughout the nation. Flat River Group was ranked No. 1,672 with a three-year growth of 223 percent.

Members of the Board of Directors for the Right Door for Hope, Recovery and Wellness of Ionia County gathered at an groundbreaking ceremony Monday in Belding. Pictured are Mary Baker, Julie Calley, Michael Gallagher, Nancy Haga, Melissa McKinstry, Deborah McPeek-McFadden, Dale Miller, Gretchen Nyland, Linda Purcey, Robert Lathers and Kerry Possehn. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

Right Door breaks ground on Belding autism center addition

A planned addition to the Ionia County Right Door for Hope, Recovery and Wellness has broken ground. Monday afternoon found members of the Right Door Board of Directors, representatives from Triangle Associates and James Turner, the rural development director of the United States Department of Agriculture, discussing the addition and breaking ground on the project at 7441 Storey Road in Belding.

From left, Peyton Moffit, 5, Emma Johnson, 5, Jayde Hoisington, 5, Jackson Shearer, 5, and Lincoln McCarty, 5, work on building a wall for Humpty Dumpty to sit on during a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) project at Ellis Elementary School. — Courtesy photo

Belding’s Ellis Elementary School celebrates successes

Ellis Elementary School Principal Tiffany Jackson got what she called “a little brag time” at Monday evening’s Belding Area Schools Board of Education meeting. Jackson detailed points of pride for the elementary school, including focuses on curriculum, collaboration and culture in the building. According to Jackson, there are great things happening in terms of curriculum. Students throughout the building are focusing on mathematics and English and language arts.

An addition to the Otisco Township Hall has been a source of frustration for some residents from the beginning of the process while others have looked upon the idea favorably. Construction on the project is set to begin in April 2017. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

Some still upset about Otisco Township Hall addition

While the Otisco Township Board has accepted a bid and plans have been made to start work on a township hall addition in the spring, there is still some unrest about it in the community. During Tuesday evening’s regular meeting, the Township Hall addition wasn’t on the agenda but the subject still came up.

Members of the Heether family were in attendance at the dedication. James Heether Jr. was one of the Belding residents who died in Vietnam and he has one of 12 pillars dedicated to him, which were unveiled at Friday evening’s war memorial dedication. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

Belding Vietnam War memorial one step closer to completion

The next phase of the Belding war memorial Denny Craycraft and committee members are working to bring to fruition is complete. Craycraft, along with members of the committee, hosted a dedication ceremony at the site of the memorial Friday evening. The memorial is being constructed near the Pere Marquette Depot on Bridge and Depot Streets.

Belding High School Marching Band drum major Makennah Rousseau, left, high-fives Drumline Instructor Josh King, as fellow drum major Dana Smith hugs Band Director Laura Hyler, following the band’s performance at the MCBA State Finals Saturday in Detroit — Daily News/Cory Smith

Belding marching band places 5th at state finals (PHOTOS)

Traveling along I-696, with vans full of parents and two busses containing all 105 members of the Belding High School Marching Band, the skyline of the Motor City was about to settle into view. The sun had yet to rise Saturday, but every Belding student was wide awake, ready to perform at the Michigan Competing Band Association State Finals at Ford Field.

Graphic designer Rinck Heule, center, talks to students at the Belding Success Virtual Learning Center on Thursday about the new graphic design course he will be teaching at  the center. The hope is that the class will be able to start as soon as next week. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

Belding Virtual Learning Center to teach graphic design

High school students have more options today than just attending classes in a brick and mortar building. Advances in technology and easier access to the internet have given students the chance to learn at their own pace. Virtual learning programs not only help students learn in new and innovative ways, but they also give students at risk of not graduating high school a chance to succeed by using a different approach.

Interim Director of Public Relations for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe Erik Rodriguez and Director for Native American Programs at Central Michigan University Colleen Green gave a presentation about Native American history during a special Belding Area Schools Board of Education meeting Tuesday evening. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

‘It’s time for a change’: Belding’s mascot debate continues

When Carmin Barker first issued a call for some decision-making about Belding’s mascot more than six months ago, she thought there was one clear path in mind. She wanted her children to have an identity and she wanted the school board to bring back the Redskins.