Local

Devin Tumbleson

Belding man sent to prison for strangling, nearly killing woman

A Belding man has been sentenced to up to 10 years in prison after attacking and nearly killing a Crystal woman nearly one year ago.

Joe Verlin of Gabridge & Co., a Grand Rapids-based auditing firm, updated Montcalm County commissioners on Monday about the county’s ongoing audit and financial progress. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Montcalm County commissioners hear update from new auditor

The Montcalm County Finance & Personnel Committee heard some hopeful news Monday from the county’s new auditor.

Joe Verlin of Gabridge & Co., a Grand Rapids-based auditing firm, updated commissioners on the ongoing county audit.

Crystal Township Clerk Patty Baker-Marek, explains her thoughts Wednesday evening on the subject of rental rates for the Crystal Community Center, as Trustee George Bahm listens. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Rental agreement established for Crystal Community Center

With a dying boiler system and a leaky roof, time is not on the side of the Crystal Community Center.

The building’s fate has been discussed frequently during recent Crystal Township Board meetings, with total estimates figured at a minimum of $300,000 to make necessary repairs to keep the structure in decent condition.

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Spring comes early to Crystal Lake Winter Festival

With temperatures cresting at 40 degrees and little evidence of snow on the ground, not many would have guessed Saturday was the time for a winter festival in the middle of February.

But despite the spring-like atmosphere, the eighth annual Crystal Lake Winter Festival brought hundreds of people together for a variety of activities, both on and off the frozen surface of Crystal Lake.

Joe Verlin of Gabridge & Co., a Grand Rapids-based auditing firm, updates Montcalm County commissioners on the ongoing county audit progress. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

IN BRIEF: Montcalm County hears report from new auditor

The Montcalm County Finance & Personnel Committee heard some hopeful news today from the county’s new auditor.

Joe Verlin of Gabridge & Co., a Grand Rapids-based auditing firm, updated commissioners on the ongoing county audit.

The Montcalm County Clerk’s Office has kept detailed records of election programming billing and receipts for local municipalities and school districts since the clerk’s office started billing in 2006 at the direction of the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Montcalm County records contradict election billing allegations

A simmering dispute about Montcalm County election programming has come to a boil.

During the Jan. 23 Montcalm County Board of Commissioners meeting, Commissioner Betty Kellenberger of Carson City stated that officials from local municipalities have been telling her this is the first year they’ve been billed by the county for election programming services. Montcalm County Clerk Kristen Millard, who was present at that meeting, adamantly disagreed with this claim, saying the county has billed municipalities for this service since 2006 at the request of the Board of Commissioners.

Crystal Township resident Larry Avery, far left, presents his plans Wednesday evening to members of the Crystal Township Board for memorial playground equipment, which he would like installed near Crystal Lake Public Beach in memory of his late brother, Lee Avery. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Memorial playground proposed for Crystal Lake beach

Larry Avery remembers his late brother, Lee Avery, fondly, as do so many community members in the Crystal area.

Coming up on the one-year anniversary of Lee’s untimely death — Lee and Emily Patin died when the ORV they were riding fell through the polar plunge hole in the ice at the conclusion of last year’s Crystal Lake Winter Festival — Larry Avery is hoping to honor the wishes of his brother.

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IN BRIEF: Concerns regarding Crystal Township police contract clarified

Clearing up concerns from township officials and residents, Montcalm County Sheriff Mike Williams made an appearance Wednesday evening at the Crystal Township Board meeting to answer questions regarding a new police contract.

Construction has been ongoing since this past fall at the First Baptist Fellowship Center, the future home of First Baptist Church of Carson City. Phase one of construction is expected to be completed this summer. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Construction continues at new First Baptist Fellowship Center

Eighteen years ago, members of the congregation at First Baptist Church in Carson City set forth a mission to build a new, bigger place of worship.

As commuters now pass enter and exit the city from the west, they can see that the dream that was established nearly two decades ago is now coming to fruition.

Montcalm Conservation District Executive Director Judy Cloer and conservation district board members Steve Wyckoff and Jed Welder share their thoughts after Thursday’s Montcalm County millage meeting. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Montcalm County millage proposal inches forward

Supporters of a Montcalm County millage to fund local services have been receiving unpleasant but understandable feedback when presenting the proposal to residents.

“The initial reaction I get is, ‘Hell no,’” said Jed Welder, a Montcalm Conservation District board member and Greenville farmer. “The atmosphere with the county is so poisoned right now. But after you break through that there’s a little more willingness.”