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Montcalm Area Reading Council co-Director Jonathan LaFond works on paperwork during office hours Friday afternoon. MARC is focused on providing support and resources for improved literacy for children and adults in Montcalm County. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

Local organization’s new leadership focusing on literacy

Reading is fundamental, a skill that is vital for success, professionally and personally.

Unfortunately, for some people, reading can be a difficult task and a troublesome skill to learn. There are pushes at the state level to improve literacy levels for elementary school students, but the struggles of learning to read are not limited to children. Adults struggle with reading as well, which can perpetuate difficulties in their own children, and so the cycle continues.

The Montcalm Area Reading Council (MARC), which is based at the Flat River Community Library in Greenville, works to improve literacy rates for adults and children. Jonathan LaFond and Allen Demorest lead the council. LaFond was appointed by the council’s board of directors in February 2016 to be the director of MARC, but he found there was simply too much to be done.

Voyage Pictures, a Grand Rapids-based video production company, shot video of keyboardist Tim King, bassist Chris Kuiper and lead vocalist Rich Hopkins, along with other DEEPFALL members not pictured.

Trufant location chosen for Greenville band’s music video

The members of the rock band DEEPFALL have some big dreams. Tim King, keyboardist and manager, says the group hopes to “go as big as we can manage,” hopefully touring the nation or globe while keeping their roots in Greenville, where they have a private studio.

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New year, new life: Greenville residents transform their lifestyles via weight loss

GREENVILLE — With the bright lights of an auditorium shining from above, and an audience full of friends, peers and strangers seated before him, Mike Walsh had placed himself in the spotlight. Performing at Greenville High School’s annual R3 concert, the Baldwin Heights Elementary School principal is no stranger to standing before hundreds of people. [...]

Montcalm County Controller-Administrator Robert Clingenpeel, Commissioner Patrick Q. Carr, Clerk Kristen Millard and commissioners Betty Kellenberger, Tom Lindeman and Dale Reyburn listen to budgetary concerns during a meeting earlier this year. The county made $1.7 million in budget cuts and hired three legal and accounting firms to investigate what went wrong with the county’s financial situation. — File photo

2016 Daily News Top Local Stories of the Year

This year, Montcalm County lost a controller-administrator and hired a new leader, made $1.7 million in budget cuts equating to a loss of 30 jobs, fired its auditing firm and contracted with three new firms to investigate what went wrong with the county budget over the past decade.

Greenville City Manager George Bosanic, left, updates members of the Greenville Downtown Development Authority, including Mayor John Hoppough, right, about the status of a proposal for a brownfield grant with Flo’s Ristorante & Pizzeria. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Flo’s brownfield grant hits snag with MEDC

Efforts to secure tax increment funding (TIF) through a brownfield grant involving Flo’s Ristorante & Pizzeria appear to have hit a snag. During this month’s Greenville Downtown Development Authority (DDA) meeting, Greenville City Manager George Bosanic reported that a plan to create a 50-50 split on future TIF funds between the city and Flo’s, as proposed by the city, had been rejected by the Michigan Economic Development Corp (MEDC).

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Greenville officer Mark Cole retires after 32 years

Standing before friends, family, members of the Greenville City Council and many of his fellow officers, Mark Cole composed himself long enough to deliver a final and emotional message in the face of retirement.

After 32 years with the Greenville Department of Public Safety, Cole was celebrated Tuesday evening with thunderous applause and accolades.

From left, Greenville City Manager George Bosanic, Mayor John Hoppough and Councilwoman Frances Schuleit discuss Tuesday evening the decision by the city council to change city banking from Fifth-Third Bank to Isabella Bank. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Greenville nets $50,000 a year after change in banking services

In soliciting new banking services at the city level, City Clerk Norice Rasmussen had some good news to deliver Tuesday evening. Rasmussen brought forth a proposal to the Greenville City Council to switch banking services from Fifth-Third Bank to Isabella Bank, and with it, swing nearly $50,000 in the city’s favor.

This image showcases a photo taken in 1915, courtesy of the Flat River Historical Society and Museum, of downtown Greenville looking north on Lafayette Street at the intersection of Cass Street, merged with a photo of modern-day Greenville taken Wednesday. — Composite image/Cory Smith

Flat River Historical Society and Museum continues work on future downtown interpretive signs

One historic photo at a time, the Flat River Historical Society and Museum continues to move closer to bringing this city’s history front and center. During Tuesday’s Greenville Downtown Development Authority (DDA) meeting, Society President Keith Hudson and Historian Kelly Warden delivered an update on the efforts being made to install historical interpretive signs along Lafayette Street.

Jonah Stek, 9, of Greenville, flies through the air after hitting a jump while sledding at Tower Mountain Park in Greenville during a snow day off of school Monday. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Area digs out after getting buried under up to a foot of snow

The whole of Montcalm County woke up Monday morning covered in a thick blanket of heavy, wet snow. All of the school districts in the county closed down for the day and trucks from the Road Commission for Montcalm County have been hard at work since Sunday morning to clear the county’s roads.

Jessica Wisinski, a firefighter with the Greenville Department of Public Safety, right, takes a selfie photo with Paige Raths, 12, left, and Ian Raths, 6, center, both of Greenville, during the Shop with a Hero event at the Greenville Walmart on Thursday. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Shop with a Hero event brings together officers, firefighters and children

Prior to entering Walmart on Thursday evening, Joni Turley of Gowen was excited, more so than most 6-year-olds would normally be with shopping on the agenda. But this time, she was under the impression that once she walked through the entrance of the store, she would be greeted by a number of superheroes.