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Michigan Department of Education Deputy Superintendent Kyle Guerrant inspects “zombie retention facilities” that Montabella Elementary School students are building as part of a cross-curricular assignment involving writing, social studies and math. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Department of Education official tours Montabella

Kyle Guerrant didn’t know what to expect as he drove the Isabella-Montcalm county line toward Montabella Community Schools. He almost certainly didn’t expect to find students working to ward off zombies amid the cornfields and gravel roads.

Dakota Shaffer, 15, shares a moment with her mother, Amanda, right, Thursday afternoon at their home in Vestaburg. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

Montcalm Care Network offers outpatient and home-based therapy

Montcalm County residents, like anywhere else, face barriers when it comes to receiving comprehensive mental health care. The rural landscape of the county can mean isolation for some families in need. Financial stability can be another issue.

The Montcalm Care Network, based in Stanton, is focused on helping children and families conquer those barriers in order to receive mental health care services.

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The Daily News named best in Michigan

The Daily News was named the best in the state Sunday in the annual Michigan Associated Press (AP) Media Editors newspaper competition.

The Daily News won for general excellence in Division 1 and was honored with 10 other awards during Sunday’s AP banquet in Lansing.

Applauding veterans during a Vietnam veteran commemoration ceremony Wednesday at Central Michigan University are, from left, First Lt. Michael Miller, U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar, Major Gen. James Jackson and Brigadier Gen. Michael Stone.

Vietnam veterans honored as part of national effort

Tom Porter was drafted into U.S. military service in 1965. He went through officer candidate school and was trained in the artillery before serving as a military policeman at Fort Gordon, Georgia, while many of his classmates were sent to Vietnam. One was killed in action in 1967. Two more remain missing in action to this day.

John Donnelly, 19, of Edmore, was among the first students in the early college program, which started three years ago at Montcalm Community College. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

MCC graduation to include Early College students

Not every student walking across the stage at tonight’s Montcalm Community College commencement is a typical student. Thirteen early college students will be moving toward their next stage in life. John Donnelly, 19, a Montabella High School senior, is one such student.

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ON THE RECORD: Montcalm County cracking down on recycling site abuse

One man has been convicted and fined after dumping garbage at a Montcalm County recycling site, putting a face to a countywide problem.

Kathy Jo VanderLaan, Montcalm County’s business development coordinator with The Right Place, gives examples of economic development within Montcalm County throughout the past year during Thursday’s Coalition of Greater Greenville meeting.  — Daily News/Cory Smith

Right Place partnership paying dividends for Montcalm County

After one full year of utilizing The Right Place in Montcalm County, early returns appear to be positive.

According to Right Place Board of Directors member and Montcalm Economic Alliance Board President Rob Spohr, the return on investment in partnering with The Right Place, an economic development agency based in Grand Rapids, has led to a rate of $1,330 to $1 through the first year of the three-year partnership.

“Benjamin Losford and His Handy Dandy Clippers” tells the true story of a freed slave and his journey from a Kentucky plantation to the village of Edmore, where he became the town’s barber and a respected member of the community. (Courtesy illustration)

New children’s book highlights local contributions of African Americans

Benjamin Losford was born into a life of slavery. It was the mid-1800s, a plantation in Boone County, Ky. Growing up, Benjamin would overhear relatives speaking in hushed voices of his father, Abraham, who has escaped to the north, vowing to someday return for his family. Abraham’s first attempt to reclaim Benjamin and his sister resulted in his recapture.

But Abraham — who had served as the plantation’s resident barber — escaped a second time, eventually settling in Howell, where he opened his own barber shop

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Neil Rankin returns for second stint as Edmore’s village manager

On his first day as Edmore village manager, Neil Rankin returned to the helm without expecting to miss a beat. Stepping into his old office Monday for the first time in nearly two years, Rankin began listening to voicemails and returning emails, just as if he had never left the job. “There’s no nerves, no excitement, I’m just picking up right where I left off,” he said.

Mecosta County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Wieber is pictured with his wife, Bethany and their infant son, Charlie. Jason is currently receiving treatment in Houston, Texas, for a rare brain tumor. Friends at the Phenix Bar in Edmore will host a benefit for the family from 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday. — Courtesy photo

Phenix Restaurant ‘family’ hosts benefit for owner fighting rare brain tumor 

Until November 2011, Jason Wieber’s life was much like that of any Mecosta County Sheriff’s deputy. He spent his days responding to assaults, traffic accidents, shoplifting reports. He wrote the occasional speeding ticket.