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Firefighters from the Maple Valley Township Fire Department were dispatched to a structure fire at 15721 W. Stanton road Wednesday afternoon where they quicly extinguished the fire. All four residents escaped the fire safely. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Four Trufant residents safe after quick knockdown of house fire

A young man’s desire for a glass of water before heading to bed may have turned out to be a life-saving gesture after he entered the kitchen to find the ceiling on fire. Rusty Vansiclen, 22, one of four Trufant-area residents living at 15721 W. Stanton road, said had he not walked into the kitchen Wednesday afternoon to get a glass of water, as he regularly does before going to sleep, the fire that was quickly extinguished by Maple Valley Township firefighters could have “been a lot worse” for he and his roomates, who were asleep.

Donald Beach has moved out of his condemned home into a travel trailer on his family farm in Richland Township, but he has been ordered to move from the property entirely. He says he’s not going anywhere. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Some Montcalm County eyesore properties are making progress

Three properties were among several condemned in Montcalm County last year, including a gas station, a trailer park and a family farm. The three properties have found different fates more than a year later. Two of the stories appear to have happy endings, while one story continues to unfold.

R&R Research, located at 19256 Kendaville Road just north of Howard City, purchases or accepts dogs and cats to sell to laboratories for research and experimentation. — File photo

USDA alleges wrongdoing by Howard City’s R&R Research

R&R Research was the subject of much local criticism and news coverage about three years ago in Montcalm County. Now the Howard City-area facility may be in trouble at the national level.

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Howard City enjoys beautiful Harvest Festival weekend (Photo Gallery)

The 10th annual Harvest Festival took place Friday through Sunday throughout downtown Howard City.

Trufant Jubilee royalty wave to crowds at Saturday’s grand parade. — Daily News/Lori Hansen

‘Everyone had a good time’ at 34th annual Trufant Jubilee

For Sonny and Donna McNees, the annual Trufant Jubilee is more than a festival, it is a family reunion. Though the couple now resides in Sand Lake, Sonny grew up in Trufant and the entire family — five generations this year — all returned to the three-day festival over the weekend.

Participants in Tuesday night’s Howard City Harvest Festival queen pageant included, from left to right, Jenna Butler, Jessie Frisbie, first runner-up Nina Hadley, Queen Nicole Newell and second runner-up Ashlyn Sutton. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Howard City Harvest Festival queen wants to be a role model

The competition was fierce, but even when the race came down to a tie, Nicole Newell pulled ahead for the win. Newell, 18, was crowed the 2012 Howard City Harvest Festival queen Tuesday night at Tri County High School. She is the daughter of Dawn and the late John Edward Newell.

Marty Spaulding, general manager of Title Check in Kalamazoo, acted as auctioneer for the dozens of bidders who attended Montcalm County’s foreclosure auction Monday. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Montcalm County hosts annual auction of more than 100 foreclosed properties

The Montcalm County Administrative Building was packed Monday as standing-room-only hopefuls vied to get their hands on one of 100+ foreclosed properties, but only three dozen people walked out of the old courthouse with a deed. Marty Spaulding, general manager of Title Check in Kalamazoo, acted as the day’s auctioneer. More than half the people in the audience were first-time participants in a foreclosure auction, so Spaulding spent more than half an hour reviewing how a foreclosure auction works.

Pilot Jimmy Bearens and wife Barb drop golf balls onto a target below during the helicopter golf ball drop at the third annual PMS golf fundraiser on Saturday in Howard City. — Daily News/Lonnie Allen

Howard City golf event raises more than $11,000 for MS

Many families and friends teamed up Saturday at Birchwood Golf Course during the Play “Fore” the Cure for Multiple Sclerosis (PMS) golf fundraiser that raised more than $11,000. For Grand Rapids resident Steve Broekema the good weather was a chance to be around friends and support PMS fundraiser.

Birchwood Golf Course owners Debbie and Mark Heath hold an annual golf outing to raise money for multiple sclerosis. The money raised goes to the University of Michigan for research and is used to help families suffering from MS in Montcalm and surrounding counties. The outing starts at 9 a.m. on July 21. — Daily News/Lonnie Allen

Birchwood Golf Course outing 
to raise money for multiple sclerosis research

The Play “Fore” the Cure for Multiple Sclerosis (PMS) golf outing July 21 at Birchwood Golf Course is a way for owners Mark and Debbie Heath to raise money for research and help others who suffer with MS. “We named it PMS as a way of getting people’s attention,” Debbie said. “There are so many fundraisers and golf outing these days that we felt this would help make our outing stand out. When we ask men to participate in the outing some say, ‘Well, isn’t that an outing for women?”

Although some damage was done to this cherry tree at Watts’ Orchards in Howard City, it was the frost in early spring that took fruit from the tree, leaving owners Wayne, above, and Bruce Watts without any crops to harvest. — Daily News/Kelli Ameling

2012 has been one of the hardest years for local growers

Between the unusual warm winter, a freeze and now a record-setting heatwave in Montcalm County, this year has been a struggle for local growers and possibly one of the worst years in history. “It’s devastating to us,” summarized Wayne Watts, who owns Watts’ Orchards in Howard City along with his son, Bruce Watts.