loc 1022 The Right Place-5

Montcalm County hears economic development update

In describing greater Grand Rapids, Birgit Klohs was forthright in her approach of the area from an economic standpoint.

“Nobody wonders were Grand Rapids is,” said Klohs, the president and CEO of The Right Place. “They know New York, they know Las Vegas, they know Chicago, they know L.A., but the middle of the country is often called flyover territory.”


Some Montcalm County commissioners decline to file expense reports

The Montcalm County Board of Commissioners recently voted to give themselves a pay cut, but some commissioners have been quietly declining to turn in their expense reports for years.

Commissioners voted in September to give themselves a 15 percent salary cut, which will save $14,990, as part of $1.5 million in overall county budget cuts. Commissioners each earn an annual salary of about $9,600.


Agencies fill the gap left by 2-1-1 in Ionia and Montcalm counties

Within the last year, Montcalm and Ionia counties lost its 2-1-1 service, which provided health and human resources to those in need.

The Montcalm Human Service Coalition unanimously decided to cancel 2-1-1 in Montcalm and Ionia counties in December 2015, effective in January 2016.

Animal Control Director Angela Hollinshead updated Montcalm County commissioners on her department’s status on Monday after Animal Control received a 33 percent budget cut. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Animal Control deals with budget cuts by reducing hours, staff

Reduced hours, reduced staff, reduced services.

Montcalm County Animal Control is running as such after a 33 percent budget cut by the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners.

IM Fostering Hope collects items and puts together backpacks for children transitioning in the foster care system in Montcalm and Ionia counties. — Courtesy photo

IM Fostering Hope aims to help foster families

Last year, more than 160 children in Montcalm and Ionia counties entered the foster care system, and IM Fostering Hope is hoping to make the transition easier for those children.

The group has put together backpacks with hygiene items, pajamas, comfort items, blankets, socks and underwear. The goal is to make the first night of transition easier on the children and the foster families.

The Montcalm County Board of Commissioners will vote to approve the fiscal year 2017 budget on Monday, including $1.7 million in budget cuts. — File photo

Loss of jobs, services hit home hard amid Montcalm County budget cuts

Montcalm County is in the red, and pink slips went out this week as a result.

Last Monday, the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to make budget cuts totaling 22.5 full-time equivalents (FTEs). Those cuts, along with other budget adjustments, will equate to more than $1.7 million in cuts.


M-STEP scores released for local school districts

Two years ago, the Michigan Department of Education moved from the 44-year-old MEAP standardized test to the M-STEP, a test that is partly based on common core standards. The M-STEP is widely recognized by educators as a more rigorous test with high expectations for students.


10 local artists participating in ArtPrize

Local artists are utilizing a variety of unique mediums for this year’s ArtPrize, including copper, silver and gold, stained glass mosaics and hornet nests. More than 1,450 entries have been submitted to be on display at more than 160 venues across three square miles of Grand Rapids starting Wednesday through Oct. 9. Winning prizes totaling $500,000 will be awarded (half decided by public vote and half decided by a jury of experts).

Judge Donald Hemingsen of Montcalm County's 64B District Court takes the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners to task for allowing the county to reach its current budget situation. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

‘Appalled and dumbfounded’: Montcalm County residents sound off against commissioners

The embattled Montcalm County Board of Commissioners heard wide-ranging criticism Monday from a former county administrator and a judge, among others. Nancy Clary of Cedar Springs was Montcalm County’s administrator (she went by Hansing-Clary at the time) from 1978 to 1995, when she was fired. She said the reason she was terminated from her job was because a commissioner proposed not funding the county’s pension plan and Clary spoke out against that proposal. The county’s pension fund is currently short more than $800,000.

Montcalm County Controller-Administrator Robert Clingenpeel, left, and Montcalm County Board of Commissioners Chairman Patrick Q. Carr consider the task before them during a special budget meeting Monday. Commissioners voted to move forward with a recommended $1.7 million in budget cuts. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Montcalm County moves forward with $1.7 million in budget cuts

Montcalm County residents should prepare for a “new normal.” The Montcalm County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted Monday to accept a budgetary investigation analysis by Clark Hill, Rehmann Robson and Municipal Financial Consults Inc. (MFCI), and to make budget cuts totaling 22.5 full-time equivalents (FTEs). Those cuts, along with other budget adjustments, will equate to more than $1.7 million in cuts.