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Dylan Matulis, one of five valedictorians, receives his diploma from Tri County Area Schools Board of Education member Keven Hoisington during Thursday evening’s commencement ceremony. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Tri County sends off 158 graduating seniors

Erik Barnard’s parents were involved in a car accident last March. Daniel Barnard, 66, of Muskegon died at the scene in California. Linda Barnard was seriously injured and continues to recover.

When Erik, a social studies teacher at Tri County High School, was asked to give the commencement address at Tri County’s graduation ceremony Thursday evening, he wanted to leave a lasting impression on the 158 graduates of the class of 2016.

Levi Kinsey, 18, has overcome an array of tough circumstances — including abuse and neglect, multiple foster care homes and stints as a homeless youth — and will graduate with Tri County’s class of 2016 tonight. (Daily News | Elisabeth Waldon)

Tri County senior looks back on eventful 18 years

Levi Kinsey got a tattoo on April 6 to celebrate his 18th birthday. He went to the Creation Station Tattoo Studio in Newaygo to get Philippians 4:13 inked permanently on his arm: “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”
“It’s my life motto,” he said. “It always has been and always will be. It’s gotten me through a lot of tough times and challenges.”

Phase 1 of a voter-approved $2.7 million sinking fund millage for Tri County Area Schools was celebrated Thursday morning by, from left, Superintendent Al Cumings, School Board Secretary Kevin Hoisington, Trustee Bill Baker, Trustee Jan Dewey, Board Treasurer Sharon Schwalbach, Board Vice President Janet Powell, Trustee Brian Campbell, Board President Jill Fennessy, Tri County Facilities Director Brian Ackey, Fritz Walhfield Jr. of Fritz Wahlfield Construction and Craig Nicely, architect from Progressive A&E. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Groundbreaking for $2.7 million project at Tri County Area Schools

Tri County Area Schools officials chose what felt like the first day of spring to begin Phase 1 of a five-part construction project.

A groundbreaking ceremony Thursday morning kicked off a $2.7 million sinking fund millage project approved by voters in February 2015. The goal of the 1.5 mill project is to enhance safety and security throughout the school district.

Howard City Village President-Manager Randy Heckman reviews a blueprint of the village’s two ballfields while standing near the pitcher’s mound on field 1. The Howard City Village Council recently voted to invest $35,000 in improvements to the ballfields. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Howard City to make ballfields, trail upgrades (PHOTOS)

Plans are underway for upgrades to two ballfields and a local trail in Howard City. The Howard City Village Council on Monday approved spending $35,000 to redo two baseball fields. The council also learned the late Warren White had donated a piece of property to the village, which Village Manager Randy Heckman hopes to develop into more parking spaces, plus a pavilion.

Members of the Edmore Village Council, from left, Eddie Adams, Bonnie Davis, Jamie Ballard, Village Clerk Tracy Fockler, Village Manager James Lower, President Karl Kluwe, Treasurer Elaine Leak, Phill Kohn, Karen Deja and Bonnie Ashbaugh, discuss the hiring of a new village manager during Monday evening’s council meeting. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Edmore brings back Rankin as village manager

After an unexpected exit from the community nearly two years ago, a familiar face is expected to return to the position of Edmore village manager. The Edmore Village Council voted unanimously Monday evening to hire Neil Rankin, 39, as village manager following the resignation of James Lower, whose last day is March 28 as he campaigns for a seat in the Michigan House of Representatives.

A sewer project that broke ground at Pierson Township’s Little Whitefish Lake in 1997 remains a funding concern today because of the special assessment sewer fund being depleted years ahead of schedule. — File photo

Little Whitefish Lake sewer fund issue still unresolved

An expensive and complicated special assessment situation continues to hang like an unpleasant fog over Little Whitefish Lake.
Lake Association President Matt Matlosz alerted Montcalm County officials to the sewer fund discrepancy in April 2015. There hasn’t been a public meeting to address the issue since county and lake association officials met in June 2015.

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Howard City Winterfest revival a success, despite warm weather

Although “Frozen In Time” was the theme of this year’s Winterfest, there was more thawing than freezing Saturday in Howard City.

However, despite sunshine and temps in the 40s, the village’s effort to revive the celebration of winter proved to be a moderate success.

Howard City will host Winterfest on Saturday with the theme “Frozen In Time.” The daylong festival will feature ice skating and broom ball at Ensley Park, plus a chili cook-off and a showing of the movie “Frozen” at the Howard City Fire Department. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Howard City to be ‘Frozen In Time’ on Saturday

After a two-year absence, Winterfest is making a comeback in this village.

A full day of winter fun with the theme “Frozen In Time” is planned from 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Saturday. The festival committee is comprised of Paula Hagstrom, Dawn Johansen, Mary Overbeek and Howard City Village Manager-President Randy Heckman.

Howard City Department of Public Works employee Joe Cornelisse sprinkles salt on sidewalks on Edgerton Street in front of downtown Howard City businesses on Wednesday. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Howard City Village Council members criticize DPW, again

After a one-month reprieve, this village’s Department of Public Works was once again the subject of complaints at the Howard City Village Council meeting. During Monday night’s 34-minute meeting, the DPW was criticized by multiple council members on multiple counts. Last November’s council meeting was also full of complaints about the DPW.

Horseshoe Lake is a 97-acre lake located off Cedar Point Drive in southwest Belvidere Township. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Fuel oil spills into Belvidere Township’s Horseshoe Lake

Up to 200 gallons of fuel oil recently spilled into Horseshoe Lake on the southwest side of Belvidere Township. According to David Wierzbicki, incident management specialist with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Remediation and Redevelopment Division in Grand Rapids, the spill was reported by a resident on Jan. 4. Anywhere from 150 to 200 gallons of fuel oil leaked out of an oil tank in the yard of a cottage on Cedar Point Drive on Horseshoe Lake, which is a 97-acre body of water.