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Leader Dog for the Blind representative Tammy Bartz explains to the Vestaburg Lions Club how the Rochester program works. Bartz spoke Monday evening at the club’s regular meeting. — Mike Taylor/Daily News

Some leader dogs begin their training in prisons

A good dog can change a life. A great dog can change the lives of many. The business of the Leader Dogs for the Blind program is to create good dogs and place them where they will do the most good.

After Karen Garvey and her husband, Dick (pictured), attended the Mackinaw Mush in Mackinaw City, they discovered the thrill of speed in dog sledding. The Garveys belong to Mid Union Sled Haulers (MUSH) and compete in three-dog and five-dog sprints of seven to 10 miles. — Courtesy photo

Edmore family finds thrills in dog sledding

Karen Garvey of Edmore has always enjoyed winter sports. When Bradys’ Hills, a downhill ski area near Lakeview, closed during her teenage years, she searched for another wintertime activity. She tried cross country skiing, but missed the speed. After she and her husband, Dick, attended the Mackinaw Mush in Mackinaw City, they discovered the thrill of speed in dog sledding, one of North America’s oldest winter sports.

At Monday’s Legislative Update meeting at Montcalm Community College, Rep. Rick Outman, R-Six Lakes, discusses a package of bills with a focus on making it easier for state prison parolees to return to the workforce. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Outman discusses ‘parolee hiring’ bills

Finding a job as an unemployed citizen can be stressful, difficult and unpleasant. Finding a job as a convicted felon can be nearly impossible.

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Brotherly partnership takes over The Phenix in Edmore

Two brothers have been looking to get into the restaurant business for several years. Jason Wieber, 34, and Justin Wieber, 29, finally found their calling in a century-old bar and restaurant in northeast Montcalm County. The Wiebers are in the process of purchasing The Phenix at 413 E. Main St. in Edmore from Travis Jensen.

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2 dogs die in house fire near Six Lakes

A single-story home on Indianhead Lake near Six Lakes was gutted by a Monday morning fire. Belvidere Township Fire Chief Rick Rockafellow said the home, located at 4585 Pawnee Trail, was a complete loss after flames ripped through the inside.

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.