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

Edmore village manager ‘blindsided’ by contract non-renewal

In a surprise move, the Edmore Village Council voted 4-2 at a special meeting this evening not to renew the contract of their village manager. Neil Rankin was hired as village manage last July, just shy of one year ago. His contract expires July 10.

Vestaburg High School graduates share a laugh during Sunday afternoon’s commencement at Vestaburg’s gymnasium. The class of 2014 included 45 graduates. — Daily News/Chip Burch

Montabella and Vestaburg send off 2014 graduates (Photo Gallery)

Montabella High School’s class of 2014 included 47 new graduates. Vestaburg High School’s class of 2014 included 45 graduates.

Daily News/Kyle Wilson

Ryan Peterson lost his father Bill to a heart attack in March 2013. Living on a 1,200-acre farm, Ryan stepped up in a time of need and with the help of family and friends, the Petersons continued to run the farm as Bill Peterson would have. Ryan will be graduating from Montabella High School on Sunday. He plans on attending Michigan State University in the fall to pursue a agricultural industries degree before returning home, to hopefully, take on the Edmore farm full time. — Daily News/Kyle Wilson

Montabella High School grad fills his father’s shoes on the farm

Ryan Peterson lives on a gravel road bordering Isabella County and Montcalm County, the sort of road that kicks up buckets full of dust when he’s rumbling through in his pickup truck. The 17-year-old doesn’t mind getting dirty though.

Vestaburg High School senior Phillip Day poses in front of the entrance to Vestaburg High School. Day is cognitively impaired, but after a long journey he will be earning his high school diploma this coming Sunday. — Daily News/Kyle Wilson

Assisting sports teams gave Vestaburg senior sense of belonging

At just 5 pounds, 7 ounces, Phillip Day may have entered the world as a tiny baby boy, but the Vestaburg senior’s personality is anything but. Diagnosed at a very young age as cognitively impaired, Day struggled through many aspects of his childhood. Everyday activities that seemed routine to other kids were sometimes a challenge for him.

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.