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Fredrika “Freddy” Engstrom, left, from Stockholm, Sweden, and Analice Armbruster from Campinas, Brazil, are foreign exchange students at Montabella High School. Both seniors will now be able to participate in Montabella’s graduation ceremony this spring after the school board made a change in policy. — File photo

Montabella to allow foreign exchange students to participate in graduation

Two foreign exchange students will be allowed to participate in the graduation ceremony at Montabella Community Schools this spring. The Montabella school board approved adding new guidelines about foreign exchange students participating in graduation earlier this month after requests from two students.

Nei Rankin

JUST IN: Edmore bringing back Rankin as village manager

After an unexpected exit from the community nearly two years ago, a familiar face is expected to return to the position of Edmore village manager.

The interior of the Sunrise Center (formerly Hitachi Magnetics) will provide more space for the Edmore Department of Public Works as it transitions to the new building. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Edmore DPW relocating to former Hitachi building

The aptly named Sunrise Center continues to bring new life to the former Hitachi building. As part of this village’s upcoming fiscal year budget, the Edmore Village Council recently approved relocating the Department of Public Works to the Sunrise Center. The DPW will now be housed in the village’s former police office, which was no longer needed after the village’s police department merged with the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office last spring.

Ronald Farrell, the longtime principal and superintendent of Montabella Community Schools, died last Wednesday at his home in Blanchard. He was 72 years old. — File photo

Longtime Montabella administrator remembered

One of the most beloved and unique school administrators has passed away, leaving a lasting legacy in the Isabella-Montcalm county area. Ronald Farrell died last Wednesday at his home in Blanchard. He was 72 years old.

Rep. John Moolenaar, at right, talks agricultural issues with Stephanie Kipp, field and storage manager for Andersen Brothers farm, and John Kran, associate national legislative counsel for the Michigan Farm Bureau. — Daily News/Elisabeth WaldoN

Rep. John Moolenaar talks agriculture and refugees with farmers

Local farmers had a chance to share their thoughts with the Congressman for Michigan’s 4th District on Friday. Rep. John Moolenaar, R-Midland, toured Andersen Brothers, a centennial farm in rural Blanchard, and met with constituents to discuss agricultural issues, such as food labeling and environmental standards, as well as concerns about ISIS and refugees.

Bruce Peterson of Blanchard uses a computer program to design a forklift at A&O Forklift in Edmore. Peterson earned a degree in architecture before going to work as an engineer at A&O. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

MADE IN OUR OWN BACKYARD: Business booming for forklift company

Beekeeping and forklifting continues to be a successful combination for an Edmore business. A&O Forklift has doubled its production in the past four years and shows no signs of slowing down. Located in the Sunrise Industrial Park — formerly home to Hitachi Magnetics Corp., which shuttered in 2004 — the business is on track to produce 250 forklifts this year. That’s steady growth from previous production of 140 forklifts in 2012 and 180 forklifts in 2013.

The village of Edmore recently received several grants, including a $13,000 strategic funding grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to evaluate the infrastructure of the former Hitachi property. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Grants in Edmore will help water system, former Hitachi property

The grants just keep rolling in for Edmore. Village officials recently learned they were receiving a $644,276 stormwater, asset management and wastewater (SAW) grant, plus a $13,000 strategic funding grant for the former Hitachi property.

This year’s Potato Festival Parade featured a large number of lovingly restored antique tractors. — Daily News/

Effort in Edmore’s Potato Festival ‘pays off’ for 2015

Organizers put a great deal of work into this year’s Potato Festival. This past weekend, that effort paid off in spades as hundreds of locals and visitors alike gathered to honor the noble tuber, a staple of the area’s economy for decades.

Those responsible for successfully obtaining a grant for the old bag factory in Edmore include, front row from left, Edmore Village Councilwomen Bonnie Ashbaugh, Bonnie Davis and Karen Deja; back row from left, Edmore Village Councilman Jamie Ballard, Village President Karl Kluwe and Village Manager James Lower. Not pictured are village councilmen Eddie Adams and Philip Kohn. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Edmore factory grant official; $870,000 project underway

A major grant seven years in the making is finally a reality for a historic building in this village. Village Manager James Lower on Wednesday announced that Edmore has been awarded a $625,875 grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) for the old General Bag Corp. building.

From left, Montabella High School graduating seniors Timothy Jordan, Zachary Taubitz, Zachary Lahay, Peter Taylor and Tristan Viglianco, turn their tassels from right to left Sunday, signifying their graduation from the high school. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Montabella graduating class of 35 hauled in $233,112 in scholarships

On Sunday evening, the smallest graduating class in the history of Montabella High School departed school for the final time with diplomas firmly in hand. Though the class may be small in number at 35 graduates, there was no questioning the large size of every heart and mind that was cloaked in a cap and gown of navy blue or white.