Local

Kenneth Wood of Sheridan reads a plaque the class dedicated to Montcalm County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Kotenko. The inaugural Montcalm County Citizens’ Police Academy named Tuesday’s graduating class the Michael Kotenko Family Citizens’ Police Academy. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

Montcalm County Citizens’ Police Academy graduates first class

A police academy of a different sort celebrated graduation Tuesday at Montcalm Community College.

A group of 25 excited men and women gathered to receive certificates of completion for finishing the inaugural Montcalm County Citizens’ Police Academy put on through a partnership between the Michigan State Police (MSP) Lakeview Post and the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Department.

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JUST IN: 3 teens arrested after Montabella school B&E

Montcalm County sheriff’s deputies have arrested three teenagers in connection to a breaking and entering incident at the Montabella Community Schools Central Office Building.

Deputy Greg Syrjala was called to the B&E at 7:30 a.m. Oct. 26 at the office at 302 W. Main St. after school staff members discovered the building had been broken into.

Some local households are participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project, a campaign to bring awareness to food allergies during Halloween. People with teal pumpkins outside their house on Halloween will have toys or other prizes as an alternative to candy to be sensitive to the needs of children who have food allergies and cannot have certain candies. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

Teal Pumpkin Project aims to raise awareness for food allergies

Come Monday, goblins will walk the sidewalks, witches will run in the streets and ghouls will haunt neighborhoods.

All these haunting prospects are still not as scary as the idea of someone’s child eating a piece of candy they shouldn’t have and having an allergic reaction severe enough to create an anaphylactic response.

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ON THE RECORD: Former Vestaburg coach/teacher going to trial over sex charge

A former Vestaburg coach and teacher is going to trial after a teenage girl alleged he inappropriately touched her while in the school gymnasium.

Benny Keith Steele, 52, is charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct.

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IN BRIEF: Montcalm County to borrow $2,677,000 to fix budget

The Montcalm County Board of Commissioners approved a 2016 borrowing resolution to borrow no more than $2,677,000 for the 2014-2015 delinquent tax revolving fund Monday.

The state of Michigan began withholding 25 percent of revenue sharing from Montcalm County on Oct. 13 after the county was late in submitting a deficit elimination plan.

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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 where 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.”

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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.

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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.