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Drew Corder of Cedar Lake assembles a forklift at A&O Forklift plant in Edmore. The company is expected to produce about 180 forklifts this year. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Edmore’s A&O Forklift flourishing in Hitachi Magnetic’s former home

Bumblebees and forklifts may not seem like an obvious partnership, but they’re proving to be a hot combo for an Edmore business. Brian Kulling, who grew up near Detroit and now lives in Alma, earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Kettering University in Flint. He was looking for business opportunities and while he was working for a sheet metal provider to A&O Forklift, he heard the owner of A&O was looking to sell.

Loafers Glory employee Megan Moore of Remus takes a lunch order from Pam Petno of Syracuse, Ind., left, Becky Fox of Syracuse, Ind., center, and LouAnn Williams of Cedar Lake. The three women were enjoying a last lunch at Loafers Glory along with Carl Petno of Syracuse, Ind., before the Blanchard business closes for good. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Beloved Blanchard business Loafers Glory closing after 27 years

Alan and JoAnne Camp were traveling through the mountains of North Carolina when they came across an antiquated settlement, barely still in existence. The settlement was called Loafers Glory, the name reportedly coined by the women of the community who took a rather dim view of the men’s habit of lollygagging on the porch of the community store, rather than working.

Montabella teacher Michelle Huguelet hangs up a poster to welcome students back to class. Huguelet is a graduate of Montabella High School, taught at the junior high last year and will teach first grade this year. — Daily News/Robin Miller

BACK TO SCHOOL: Local districts offering new programs this year

This extended Labor Day weekend will be over in the blink of an eye and students will head back to school bright and early Tuesday morning. Local school district officials are excited about a number of new programs being offered this year — from early college opportunities to partnering with parents to special education knowledge to … new saxophones!

“Tater Tots” from Our Savior’s Lutheran Church marched in Saturday’s Edmore Potato Festival parade. — Daily News/Robin Miller

Firefighters, bull riders ride high at Edmore Potato Festival (Photos)

With its roots in potato farming, Edmore served up loads of potatoes — chips, fries, baked and topped with all the fixings — during last weekend’s Potato Festival. But tasty tubers were just a small part of the farming village’s offerings. Activities began Friday night with the seventh annual Home Township Fire Department Appreciation gathering downtown. Great food, fun activities and absolutely perfect weather gave families a way to unwind. For some, it was merely a family outing. For others, it held special meaning of many sacrifices made by local firefighters and others whose eminence will be forever etched in history.

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Firefighters honored as grand marshals of Potato Festival

The famous Potato Festival will return to Edmore this Friday through Sunday. The festival will get underway with the seventh annual Home Township Fire Department appreciation celebration from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at the fire barn, featuring hot dogs, brats, ice cream, a smokehouse and activities for children and more. The appreciation celebration will be followed by the firemen’s parade at dusk, featuring a bagpiper leading marching firefighters, a tribute to Sept. 11, 2001, and a memorial service at Third and Main streets.

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YES program provides positive reinforcement from Edmore police

This village’s chief of police doesn’t like labels and never gives up on anyone’s ability to learn from mistakes and move forward in a positive direction. Luke Sawyer’s nonjudgmental way of thinking and desire to reward local kids for doing good things laid the groundwork for a new incentive program, Youth of Edmore Shine (YES). The program is backed by Burger King and McDonald’s in Edmore in the form of free food rewards.

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UPDATE: 2 barns destroyed by fire amid lightning storm

Firefighters from multiple departments responded to two early morning barn fires in Montcalm County today.

Edmore Village Manager Neil Rankin is pictured in his office at the Curtis Community Building in Edmore. — File photo

New Edmore village manager excited to be on the job

Today Neil Rankin has one week under his belt as this village’s new manager. Rankin, 37, officially took on village manager duties last Tuesday after the Edmore Village Council unanimously voted to hire him earlier this month. He will earn an annual salary of $45,000 to work 32 hours per week.

A wooden pirate ship in Curtis Memorial Park is causing problems for the village of Edmore. Village officials recently decided to seal off the entrances to the ship. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Edmore pirate ship causing park problems

A pirate ship in a village park is becoming known for legends as colorful as Davy Jones’ locker. Edmore Police Chief Luke Sawyer made an attempt to parley with the Edmore Village Council last month. He proposed removing the pirate ship, which is one of several wooden play structures at Curtis Memorial Park.

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Edmore Village Council offers manager job to Midland man

The village of Edmore has a new manager, pending contract approval. The Edmore Village Council voted 7-0 on Monday night to hire Neil Rankin, 37, of Midland. Rankin is currently a substitute teacher for Professional Services Group in Midland. He earned his master’s degree in public administration with a focus on local government from Western Michigan University last year. He previously earned his bachelor’s degree in recreation from WMU in 2000.