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IN BRIEF: Belding mayor declares Arbor Day April 28

Arbor Day is set for April 28 in the city of Belding.

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Belding High School hosts forgiveness-themed event

Through religious faith, two men who by all accounts should never be friends are defying the odds. Benton Harbor natives Jameel McGee and Andrew Collins visited Belding High School on Saturday evening to tell the story of how they overcome their substantial differences to establish a friendship.

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IN BRIEF: Belding board approves contract renewal

The Belding Board of Education approved a contract renewal during Monday evening’s regular meeting.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.