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The Vestaburg FIRST Robotics team, the Vestabots, in red shirts, are advancing to the state finals competition at Saginaw Valley State University today and Sunday. The team won the Gracious Professionalism award at last weekend’s event in Shepherd; an award which recognizes teamwork, a positive attitude and communication. — Courtesy photo

Vestaburg robotics team bound for state tourney

There were a lot of firsts happening for Vestaburg Community School last weekend. The high school’s first robotics team competed in their first competition — and won — during a tournament in Shepherd on April 8. The competition is part of For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) robotics.

Amber Rowland is pictured in happier times on a poster created by friends and family after Amber fatally overdosed on heroin in the summer of 2016. She was 25 years old. — Daily News/Cory Smith

HEROIN HITS HOME: Part 1, ‘Kissing Everything Goodbye’

“I was 22 and only smoked weed, drank from here and there, took pills sometimes. Some call me a late bloomer.” — So begins a letter written by Amber Rowland on April 11, 2016, and read aloud in Montcalm County’s Drug Court as a success story from someone who was bound by addiction, but fought to be sober.

Edmore Department of Public Works employee Tim Shinabargar stands next to a used vactor truck Edmore recently purchased for $10,000. Shinabargar has already used the vactor truck and says it makes a difference on projects. — Daily News/Meghan Nelson

Purchase of used vactor truck helps Edmore DPW

When Department of Public Works (DPW) employees respond to a water leak in Edmore, they’ll be bringing along their newest piece of equipment: A vactor truck.

Congressman John Moolenaar, left, speaks with Doug Bartlett, an Edmore mail carrier and president of the Michigan Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, prior to riding with Bartlett on his mail route Monday. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Congressman Moolenaar rides along with mail carrier, tours health facility

Moolenaar, R-Midland, is the representative of the 4th District, which includes Montcalm County (minus Eureka Township), as well as Gratiot, Isabella and Mecosta counties, among others. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the 4th District is the second-most rural district in the state, second only to the 1st District, which contains the entirety of the Upper Peninsula.

male addict syringe and heroin in a spoon in the shape of a cross

HEROIN HITS HOME: The Daily News to begin 4-part heroin series

The 2015 Sam Quinones book “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic” tells the story of how the prescription painkiller epidemic of the early 2000s spawned heroin addiction in unlikely locations around the country.

Brian Stratton

Longtime Ferris Township supervisor resigns

After serving on the Ferris Township Board for an estimated 30 years, the supervisor has resigned. “It has become necessary for me to resign my position as supervisor of Ferris Township effective upon the appointment of a successor or May 1, whichever occurs first. It has been an honor,” Brian Stratton wrote in his resignation letter, which he submitted to the board last Thursday.

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IN BRIEF: Longtime Ferris Township supervisor resigns

During a special meeting Tuesday evening, the Ferris Township Board accepted the resignation of longtime Supervisor Brian Stratton.

The township received Stratton’s letter last Thursday.

Jim Lower, the Michigan State House representative for the 70th District, stands in front of the state Capitol in Lansing, where the Republican from Cedar Lake spends much of his work week. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Lower takes on Lansing: A day in the life of a freshman state rep

A portrait of Theodore Roosevelt and a bust of Thomas Jefferson are prominently displayed in the downtown Lansing office of Michigan State House Rep. Jim Lower. There’s nothing random about Lower and his approach to being a state representative.

“There’s reason and purpose to literally everything I do,” he says.

From left, Mid-Michigan Humane Society acting Board President Angela Hollinshead, Vice President Rachell Martin and Secretary Autumn DeVries are pictured. The humane society was recently established to provide extra security and services to pets in Montcalm County and surrounding areas. — Courtesy photo

Local Humane Society established to expand services to pets

Amid an uncertain future for the Montcalm County Animal Shelter, a group of people have come together to provide some peace of mind for pets and pet owners throughout the county.

Angela Hollinshead, director of Montcalm County Animal Control and acting president of the board for the newly formed Mid-Michigan Humane Society (MMHS), said the idea for the Humane Society was born out of panic when in June 2016 it looked like the county might need to eliminate Animal Control.

From left, Montabella Community Schools Board of Education Student Representative Sidney Lint, Trustee Katie Ludwig, President Jann LaPointe, Superintendent Shelly Millis and Trustee Eylie Foster listen to information about how to help students meet Michigan test scores. — Daily News/Meghan Nelson

Montabella superintendent and school district grades reviewed

Montabella Community Schools Board of Education members graded Superintendent Shelly Millis’ performance after reviewing student test scores.

Both Montabella and its superintendent received their annual evaluations during Monday night’s board meeting.