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The Winfield Hustlers include, front row, from left, Abigail Rushmore and Kelly Olger; back row from left, Jessica Black, Hailey Olger, Joy Johnson, Serena Johnson, Lindsey Olger, Kristina Brasington, Dominic Black, Nathan Rousseau, Tyler Keilholtz and Aaron Johnson. — Courtesy photo

Winfield Hustlers sew blankets for young heart surgery patients

Hailey Olger wants to be a doctor when she grows up. The aspirations of this 12-year-old are due in part to watching her little sister Kelly struggle with heart defects. Kelly is 5 years old and has already had three open heart surgeries.

On Feb. 26, a sign was placed at Howard City’s unmanned recycling site stating that the site will be shut down on April 15 if abuse of the site does not stop. — Courtesy photo

Howard City recycling site may be shut down

This village was the location of Montcalm County’s first 24/7 unmanned recycling site starting in November 2011. The pilot program was such a success that county officials approved creating six additional sites in Carson City, Crystal, Edmore, Lakeview, Montcalm Township and Stanton last August.

During Winterfest on Saturday in Howard City, an artist showed off his talents by carving a bear out of a log using a chainsaw. — Daily News/Kelli Ameling

No snow, no problem for fourth annual Howard City Winterfest

Although snow did not make much of an appearance in Howard City this weekend, the fourth annual Winterfest still showcased fun events for all ages. Panhandle Chamber of Commerce Secretary Millianne Lewis said some events at Winterfest were altered, but the weekend went on and nothing was canceled.

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Tri County’s ‘Top Gun’ graduates from Annapolis

Megan Wolowicz was inspired to join the Navy after watching “Top Gun.” Last month, the 2008 Tri County High School graduate followed in the footsteps of that movie’s larger-than-life characters by graduating from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. In return for her bachelor of science degree in aerospace engineering, she will now serve the Navy.

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Local schools talk about safety policies in wake of Sandy Hook

Columbine became a household name after two students murdered 12 classmates and one teacher and injured about two dozen more people before taking their own lives on April 20, 1999. One week ago today, Sandy Hook joined the ranks of Columbine, albeit with an even more deadly outcome. A total of 20 children and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., along with the gunman’s mother, before the gunman took his own life.

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Emotions run high at Pierson Township murder arraignment

Julie Lynn Danielson’s family and friends packed a small courtroom Monday afternoon to witness the video arraignment of her alleged murderer. Robert Michael Munsell, 29, of Grand Rapids and Ionia, is charged with the open murder of Danielson, 31, of Pierson Township. Munsell was arraigned before Magistrate Richard Palmer in 64B District Court.

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Howard City’s Birchwood Golf Course sold to Sandyland Farms

Golfers, club members, family and friends gathered Sunday for a thank you buffet from the owners of Birchwood Golf Course. “This post is to make it official that the rumors that have been floating around that Birchwood Golf Course is being sold are indeed true,” stated Birchwood’s Facebook page on Oct. 3. “The agreement with Sandyland Farms was completed today. Members only until the last Sunday of October.” For the last 31 years, Mark and Debbie Heath have owned and operated the course at 6900 Masters Road just outside of Howard City.

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.