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.

Jennifer DiSpirito’s service learning class bagged jumbo bags of popcorn donated from Wesco in Belding for Kids’ Food Basket Thursday afternoon. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

Belding Middle School students bag popcorn for Kids Food Basket

Troy Vos had one question for students in Jennifer DiSpirito’s service learning class Thursday: “How many friends do you want to feed today?” he asked them.

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.

Belding Area Schools Superintendent Brent Noskey, left, and Board President Tim Flynn discuss the choice for a new mascot during Monday evening’s meeting of the board. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

Belding board approves Black Knights as new mascot

One year ago, a mother of two Belding High School wrestlers sparked a debate about the district’s mascot when she had shirts made depicting the Native American imagery the district had worked for years to move away from.

In the following months, Carmin Barker urged the Belding Area Schools Board of Education to make a choice: Bring back the Redskins in full force or to do away with the mascot entirely in favor of something new.


IN BRIEF: Belding council approves park use agreements

Soccer and softball players in participating organizations will have use of Central Riverside park and Demorest Field, respectively.

During Tuesday evening’s regular meeting, the Belding City Council approved park use agreements with Wounded Soldier Foundation and Bay Area Soccer Club (BASC) for use of the two city parks.


IN BRIEF: Belding board approves the Black Knights

For the past year, community members, board members, students and staff at Belding Area Schools have been discussing the future of the district’s mascot.
That discussion has come to an end Monday evening with the unanimous vote from the Belding Board of Education to approve the new mascot for Belding Area Schools; the Belding Black Knights.

Treasurer Cara Johnson, left, and Supervisor Joseph Daller review documents during Tuesday evening’s regular meeting of the Otisco Township Board.

Ionia County commissioner upset township didn’t consider his late bid

A bid for lawn care services led to unexpected drama Tuesday evening. During the regular meeting of the Otisco Township Board, the board opened a bid from Borek Services of Smyrna for lawn care services at the township hall, the lot next to the hall, the Otisco Cemetery and the Smyrna Cemetery.

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.