Ben Behrenwald will graduate from Tri County High School on Thursday. He has been active in the school’s Peer To Peer program, which provides support to autistic students. He’s also had a successful wrestling career despite being plagued with multiple sports injuries. Ben enjoys working on vehicles and he hopes to find a future career as a heavy equipment technician. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Tri County senior says helping his autistic peers “saved” him

When Tri County Area Schools started a program to provide support to students with autism, a middle-schooler volunteered to help.

He had no idea the program would change his own life.

Tri County sophomore Kasie Gonzalez, on the shore, holds out a tray for her classmates to put samples from the Tamarack Creek they’ve collected on a Thursday field trip to Minnie Farmer Park in Howard City. — Daily News/Meghan Nelson

Tri County sophomores get out of class for biology adventure

After spending two hours at the park, Tri County High School sophomores went back to school wet and muddy, but with smiles on their faces. “This is what teaching is all about,” biology teacher Laura Readle said.

Howard City Village Councilwoman Cheryl Smith, at left, voices concerns about the village’s Department of Public Works while Councilwoman Eleanor Marek listens. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Howard City hires attorney to look into DPW’s union effort

Village officials have hired an attorney to investigate the Howard City Department of Public Works’ effort to unionize.

From left to right, Howard City Village Manager-President Randy Heckman and council members Janice Williams, Bruce McTavish, in back, and Jason Hacko listen to an update about the village’s stormwater, asset management and wastewater grant during Monday’s meeting. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Howard City nears the end of SAW grant work

This village is nearing the completion of a three-year stormwater, asset management and wastewater (SAW) grant process. The Howard City Village Council on Monday evening heard a progress update from David Bluhm and Sam Bender of Fleis & VandenBrink Engineering in Grand Rapids.

A jam session takes place on the sidewalk outside the new Gitchel & Krope Music Store in downtown Howard City last Saturday, featuring from left, Tony Ward of Mecosta on barstool, store co-owner Luke Gitchel of Winfield Township, Dylan Deitz of Lakeview, store co-owner Tom Krope of Winfield Township and Billie Brandt of Winfield Township in back on the drums. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Gitchel & Krope Music Store opens in Howard City

Montcalm County’s Panhandle community continues to be known for its support of local music. Last January, Luke Gitchel and Tom Krope purchased the property at 210 E. Edgerton St. — which formerly housed Helping Hands Food Pantry — from the Howard City Downtown Development Authority for $15,000.

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.

Howard City Village Clerk-Treasurer Melissa Kuzmik listens at left, as Village Manager Randy Heckman talks about the Howard City Village Council choosing four finalists for village manager during Monday night’s meeting. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Howard City Village Council chooses 4 village manager finalists

The Howard City Village Council has chosen four finalists for village manager.

The Village Council on Monday night agreed to arrange interviews with Wally Delamater, Michael Falcon, Thomas Raymond and Charles Watson.

Howard City Village Manager Randy Heckman presided over a special meeting Wednesday as the Village Council begins searching for a new manager after Heckman announced he was resigning last Monday. Also pictured at left is Village Clerk-Treasurer Melissa Kuzmik. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Howard City to seek full-time village manager

This village may soon have a full-time manager again for the first time in six years. The Howard City Village Council during a special 24-minute meeting Wednesday night unanimously agreed to advertise for a full-time village manager after current Village Manager Randy Heckman announced his resignation Monday due to overwhelming stress in balancing that job with his other businesses — Heckman Funeral Home and Heckman Lawn Care & Snowplowing. He is also fire chief of the Howard City Fire Department.

Randy Heckman announced Monday he is stepping down as village manager of Howard City due to conflicting duties with his businesses, Heckman Funeral Home and Heckman Lawn Care & Snowplowing. He will remain on in his elected capacity as village president, as well as fire chief of the Howard City Fire Department. — File photo

‘The stress is literally killing me’: Howard City manager resigns

After two years on the job, this village’s manager unexpectedly announced his resignation Monday night.

Randy Heckman was elected village president in November 2014 and was hired as village manager in December 2014.

A Montcalm County-operated recycling service in Howard City was shut down Dec. 5 after the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners voted to eliminate it from Leppink’s Food Center. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

One less recycling location for Montcalm County

A solitary sign is all that remains of Howard City’s recycling site. The Montcalm County-operated service was shut down Dec. 5 after the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners voted on Nov. 7 to eliminate it due to an increase in county recycling costs, as well as garbage and trash abuse at the site, which was located in the parking lot of Leppink’s Food Center on M-82.