Amber Rowland is pictured in happier times on a poster created by friends and family after Amber fatally overdosed on heroin in the summer of 2016. She was 25 years old. — Daily News/Cory Smith

HEROIN HITS HOME: Part 1, ‘Kissing Everything Goodbye’

“I was 22 and only smoked weed, drank from here and there, took pills sometimes. Some call me a late bloomer.” — So begins a letter written by Amber Rowland on April 11, 2016, and read aloud in Montcalm County’s Drug Court as a success story from someone who was bound by addiction, but fought to be sober.


Belding council OKs joint grant app

A different kind of traffic could be getting heavier in Belding, but not on the streets. During a regular meeting of the Belding City Council April 4, the three council members in attendance approved a motion to allow a joint grant application to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund.

male addict syringe and heroin in a spoon in the shape of a cross

HEROIN HITS HOME: The Daily News to begin 4-part heroin series

The 2015 Sam Quinones book “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic” tells the story of how the prescription painkiller epidemic of the early 2000s spawned heroin addiction in unlikely locations around the country.


Belding to host event about forgiveness April 15

Forgiveness is the theme for an event being hosted at Belding High School on April 15.

Benton Harbor natives Jameel McGee and Andrew Collins will tell the story of a white police officer, Collins, who framed a black man, McGee, which led to McGee’s wrongful four-year incarceration.


Belding City Council hears update on SAW grant

Nearly three years ago, the Belding City Council approved an application to the Michigan Department of Environment and Quality (MDEQ) for Stormwater, Asset Management, and Wastewater (SAW) improvements.

The grant was approved in 2013 for $881,550 with a city match of $97,050. The city partnered with Fleis & VandenBrink Engineering Inc. of Grand Rapids to handle the project.


New summer softball leagues coming to Belding

Two softball leagues will be starting up in Belding thanks to some hard work from members of the Wounded Soldier Foundation in Greenville.

Kevin Petersen, the treasurer of the foundation and the owner of County Line Auto, answered the call from residents of Belding to bring softball leagues back to the city. The leagues have been operating in Greenville in recent years, but are now departing due to some issues with league and tournament management.

From left, Trustee Ben Oatley, Trustee Dan Zeigler, Clerk Lynda Sower and Treasurer Cara Johnson discuss township business during the regular meeting of the Otisco Township Board on Tuesday evening. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

Otisco Township has not been pursuing back taxes; residents owe $80,000+

Delinquent property taxes are causing a headache for township officials. During a regular meeting of the Otisco Township Board on Tuesday evening, Treasurer Cara Johnson brought it to the board’s attention that some property owners owe back taxes dating back nearly two decades.


IN BRIEF: Otisco Township Board approves gravel services

Laying gravel on roads can be a dirty job — but someone has got to do it.
During a regular meeting of the Otisco Township Board of Trustees Tuesday evening, the board approved gravel laying services from Carrick Trucking/Shafer & Wolthuis for $10.23 per yard of gravel on 7,250 yards of gravel roads.

The Smyrna Social Club will host its annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration at Macabee Hall in Smyrna on April 8. The celebration would have taken place March 11, but was delayed due to extended power outages caused by high-speed straight-line winds. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

Smyrna Social Club to host late St. Patrick’s Day fundraiser event

The Smyrna Social Club has been hosting a St. Patrick’s Day celebration for the past 112 years. This year, it will be a little late.

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.