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From left, Kristen Balis, Madyson Scheid, Zeke Richmond, Tori Wittenbach, Mayor Ron Gunderson, Makennah Rousseau, Dana Smith, Sydney Gladding after the group of students were presented the Good Neighbor Award for participating in the Ambassadors of Music program. Not pictured are David Tuttle, Ryan Walcott, Pilar Kent and August Medema. The group of students will tour Europe and perform six concerts along with other high school students from across the country in July. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

Belding High School students to embark on European trip

Eleven lucky high school students are set to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure this summer. Belding High School band director Laura Hyler will accompany the group of students on a 15-day trip that will take them through various parts of Europe, including London, Italy, Germany and Liechtenstein. She said the choir director for Ionia High School is also going on the trip.

Students involved in the many arts programs at Belding High School perform together during a dress rehearsal Wednesday evening for the Belding Band Follies show. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Belding Band Follies brings its annual frivolity to stage

For more than 40 years, band students at Belding High School have come together to put on yearly performance with one purpose: Make ‘em laugh. After performing Thursday evening, members of the band and arts programs will come together again at 7 p.m. tonight at the Belding High School Performing Arts Center for the annual Band Follies variety show. Tickets are $6 at the door, with proceeds benefiting the high school band program.

A joint application with the cities of Belding and Greenville for a grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund could make it possible for a kayak launch to be installed at Jackson’s Landing in Greenville and Central Riverside Park in Belding. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

Belding sets hearing for new kayak launch

Thanks to a joint grant application between Belding and Greenville, a kayak launch could be coming to Belding. City Manager Bruce Brown told the Belding City Council during a regular council meeting Tuesday evening about a grant application to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund the city of Belding will submit jointly with the city of Greenville.

Third Wave Coffee is a member of the newly revamped Belding Area Chamber of Commerce. The president of the board for the Chamber, Dan Mitchell, said he hopes to bring a renewed focus to businesses in Belding and to eventually make Belding “a destination for business.” — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

New Belding Chamber of Commerce gearing up for membership drive

Several local businessmen committed to building business in Belding have come together to revive and revamp the Belding Area Chamber of Commerce. Dan Mitchell, the vice president at the Belding branch of Mercantile Bank of Michigan, is president of the newly revamped board of directors for the Belding Area Chamber. The vice president of the board for the Chamber is Spencer “Pep” Geisen, an associate broker for ReMax.

After dunking himself under the water, Pastor Shane Prewitt makes the cold walk back to shore. — Daily News/Lori Hansen

Shiloh Community Church pastor takes chilly dip for Kids in Action challenge

Long Lake is a pristine, quiet lake in Orleans Township, often a place chosen in the summer time by boaters, skiers, fishermen and swimmers as a great place to enjoy the water. And on Saturday, with temperatures hovering around 25 degrees, and an 8 mph winds coming from the northwest, churning up some whitecap waves, there was one lone person going in the water — by choice.

All that remains of the once majestic and historical Whites Covered Bridge is a ‘Road Ends’ sign placed at either end of the gap between Whites Bridge Road where the Flat River runs through. The bridge was burned to the ground in an act of arson in July 2013. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

Whites Covered Bridge rebuild delayed because of a lack of funds

Another roadblock stands in the way of efforts to rebuild Whites Covered Bridge, which was lost in an early morning blaze in July 2013. According to Tom Byle, president of the Whites Bridge Historical Society and a Kent County Road Commission engineer, the society will need to raise an additional $425,000, which is much more than expected.

Belding City Councilman Bruce Meyers talks about the draft of the city budget for the fiscal year 2017-2018 during the regular meeting of the council Tuesday evening.

Belding City Council works on 2017-2018 budget

City staff are working hard to put together the budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year. During a regular meeting of the Belding City Council Tuesday evening, the council had a work session to go over a draft of the budget. Attendees were given the chance to give their two cents about the budget during public comment.

The next mascot for Belding Area Schools was announced Friday morning: the Belding Black Knights. The choice is pending Belding Board of Education approval during the regular meeting March 20. This costume is an example of how the mascot could look, but no final decisions have been made. Superintendent Brent Noskey donned the costume Friday to make the announcement to students at Belding High School. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

It’s Black Knights for Belding

Students at Belding High School thought the assembly they were attending Friday morning was just to hear about new electives to be available to them in the fall. And they did hear about that from Principal Michael Ostrander. He explained to students the way they will sign up for classes for next year and described the advanced placement (AP) classes and high interest electives being added to the curriculum.

Dan Scholtens, left, has been teaching at Belding High School for the past 33 years. He was honored by state Rep. Thomas Albert, second from left, with a tribute during a special assembly Friday afternoon. Belding High School Principal Michael Ostrander, second from right, announced Friday that Athletic Trainer Heidi Wilker, right is in the top five finalists for the Most Valuable Athletic Trainer Award from Training and Conditioning magazine. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

Belding High School teacher, athletic trainer recognized

  BELDING — The auditorium at Belding High School was full of surprises Friday afternoon. State Rep. Thomas Albert of the 86th District visited the school to bestow a state congressional special tribute to longtime teacher Dan Scholtens, much to Scholtens’ astonishment. The fun didn’t stop there. Longtime Athletic Trainer Heidi Wilker was called to [...]

Attorneys from Cannalex Law, Robert Hendrickson, left, and Benham Wrigley talk to the Belding City Council about the Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act during a public hearing Tuesday. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

Belding City Council considers medical marijuana

The passing of a law regarding medical marijuana in the state of Michigan last year has municipalities facing some decision making. Belding is no exception and thus opened the floor for a public hearing during a regular meeting of the Belding City Council on Tuesday evening.