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From left, Belding City Councilman Jerry Lallo recognizes Belding Area Schools Athletic Director Joel Wilker, Belding resident Rick Beckett, girls varsity basketball coach Brad Wilson and (not pictured) boys varsity basketball coach Michael Redell with the Good Neighbor Award for organizing the “Fill the Gym” event at Belding High School. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Belding’s ‘Fill the Gym Night’ organizers recognized

Who could ask for better neighbors than those who bring together 1,400 people in a celebratory event overflowing with community pride? It’s been two years since a Good Neighbor Award was bestowed upon a resident or group organization in this community by the Belding City Council, but January’s “Fill the Gym Night” at Belding High School caught the attention of Councilman Jerry Lallo.

Orleans Township Supervisor Jim Patrick speaks on the subject of beginning each township meeting with a prayer Tuesday. The board voted 5-0 to start each meeting with a voluntary invocation by board members. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Orleans Township Board votes to start meetings with a prayer

For as long as most residents can remember, Orleans Township Board meetings have begun with the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Beginning in April, meetings will start with a prayer.

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Greenville/Belding trail connection part of final project to connect 125 miles

Trail lovers will soon have access to 125 miles of Michigan trails starting right from Jackson’s Landing Park in Greenville.

During the latest Greenville City Council meeting, the council voted in favor of applying for a Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) Trust Fund grant to complete a portion of the Fred Meijer Flat River Valley Rail-Trail from Greenville to Belding.

Rebecca Grant, left, and Robin Grant stand with their collection box at Premier Automotive in Belding for RAVE’s “1 Thing Thursday” program. — Courtesy photo

‘1 Thing Thursday’ project collects one item for RAVE

When women and children in Ionia and Montcalm counties fleeing domestic or sexual violence don’t have a safe place to go, they turn to Relief After Violent Encounter — Ionia/Montcalm, Inc. (RAVE), which operates the only shelter for these victims in the two-county area.

Now RAVE is turning to the community to help stock its pantry shelves.

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Belding City Council approves new special events policy

Festivals, gatherings and celebrations in this community are expected to run more smoothly after a special events policy was approved by Belding City Council on Tuesday night.

Members of the council voted unanimously 5-0 to adopt a policy that will require the regulation of special events within the city.

Belding High School teacher Alisha Hummel holds up a sign that reads “Belding teachers work hard for students, want a fair contract” as she pleads with members of the Belding Area Schools Board of Education Monday evening to reach a “fair contract” with the Belding Education Association teachers’ union. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Belding teachers continue to plea for ‘fair’ deal

In the middle of an eight-month conflict of failed teacher contract negotiations, it was the voice of a young sixth grade student that brought people to their feet in unanimous applause Monday evening. Allyson May, 12, a student at Belding Middle School, approached the podium during the public comment portion of the Belding Area Schools Board of Education Meeting in the Belding High School Performing Arts Center auditorium.

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JUST IN: Belding City Council adopts “special events” policy

Festivals, gatherings and celebrations in this community are expected to run more smoothly after a “special events” policy was approved by Belding City Council Tuesday night.

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JUST IN: Belding School Board approves spending to refinish high school gymnasiums

With new facilities, from gymnasiums to auditoriums, comes the responsibility of maintaining those arenas and theaters to keep them preserved for future students. At Monday evening’s Belding Area Schools Board of Education meeting, board members voted unanimously 7-0 to approve $11076.62 to refinish two of the district’s gymnasiums.

Charles Ring, 78, was found dead inside his home Saturday morning at 8401 Canfield Road in Orleans Township as firefighters responded to a structure fire at the residence. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Orleans Township man dies in Saturday morning blaze

An early morning structure fire claimed the life of its homeowner Saturday shortly after he called 911. Charles Ring, 78, was near the door of his home when firefighters responded to a structure fire at his residence.

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JUST IN: Belding car chase results in drunken driving arrest

A 32-year-old Belding man is behind bars after leading police on a car and foot chase.

According Chief Dale E. Nelson, around 10:45 p.m. Tuesday, a Belding officer noticed an erratically driven car near the intersection of Bridge Street and M-44.