News

The Montcalm County Board of Commissioners will vote to approve the fiscal year 2017 budget on Monday, including $1.7 million in budget cuts. — File photo

Loss of jobs, services hit home hard amid Montcalm County budget cuts

Montcalm County is in the red, and pink slips went out this week as a result.

Last Monday, the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to make budget cuts totaling 22.5 full-time equivalents (FTEs). Those cuts, along with other budget adjustments, will equate to more than $1.7 million in cuts.

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M-STEP scores released for local school districts

Two years ago, the Michigan Department of Education moved from the 44-year-old MEAP standardized test to the M-STEP, a test that is partly based on common core standards. The M-STEP is widely recognized by educators as a more rigorous test with high expectations for students.

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Tri County Area Schools to showcase facilities before Friday’s football game

After a $2.7 million construction project groundbreaking last April, Tri County Area Schools is ready to show itself off to the community. Tri County school buildings — including the high school, middle school and MacNaughton Elementary School — will be open to the public from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Friday. Following the open houses, Tri County’s varsity football team will face off against Reed City at 7 p.m.

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10 local artists participating in ArtPrize

Local artists are utilizing a variety of unique mediums for this year’s ArtPrize, including copper, silver and gold, stained glass mosaics and hornet nests. More than 1,450 entries have been submitted to be on display at more than 160 venues across three square miles of Grand Rapids starting Wednesday through Oct. 9. Winning prizes totaling $500,000 will be awarded (half decided by public vote and half decided by a jury of experts).

Judge Donald Hemingsen of Montcalm County's 64B District Court takes the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners to task for allowing the county to reach its current budget situation. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

‘Appalled and dumbfounded’: Montcalm County residents sound off against commissioners

The embattled Montcalm County Board of Commissioners heard wide-ranging criticism Monday from a former county administrator and a judge, among others. Nancy Clary of Cedar Springs was Montcalm County’s administrator (she went by Hansing-Clary at the time) from 1978 to 1995, when she was fired. She said the reason she was terminated from her job was because a commissioner proposed not funding the county’s pension plan and Clary spoke out against that proposal. The county’s pension fund is currently short more than $800,000.

Montcalm County Controller-Administrator Robert Clingenpeel, left, and Montcalm County Board of Commissioners Chairman Patrick Q. Carr consider the task before them during a special budget meeting Monday. Commissioners voted to move forward with a recommended $1.7 million in budget cuts. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Montcalm County moves forward with $1.7 million in budget cuts

Montcalm County residents should prepare for a “new normal.” The Montcalm County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted Monday to accept a budgetary investigation analysis by Clark Hill, Rehmann Robson and Municipal Financial Consults Inc. (MFCI), and to make budget cuts totaling 22.5 full-time equivalents (FTEs). Those cuts, along with other budget adjustments, will equate to more than $1.7 million in cuts.

Harvest Festival Queen Bridgette Pollaski, at right in red, First Runner-Up Hope Gommesen, in blue, Second Runner-up Keshia Aho-Minnema, in teal, and Princess Lauren Senn, in purple, wave during the Harvest Festival parade. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Harvest Festival welcomes autumn to Howard City (PHOTOS)

Candy, a marching band, a queen and her court, a fire truck carrying cheerleaders … the Harvest Festival parade had it all. The 14th annual festival kicked off Saturday morning with car, motorcycle and tractor shows, the second annual Tri County High School Harvest Festival Cheer 5K and a volleyball tournament. Rain came and went in the morning, making way for a sunny day of fun.

Leppink’s Food Centers operates five Leppink’s stores, 11 Save-a-Lot stores and a Do It Best Hardware store throughout West Michigan. The organization is being awarded the 2016 Outstanding Retailer by the Michigan Grocers Association on Sunday during the fall conference on Sunday. Pictured is the Leppink’s Food Center Howard City location. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

Leppink’s recognized as Michigan Grocer’s outstanding retailer

Over the course of 88 years, the Leppink family has built a company with five Leppink’s Food Centers, 11 Save-a-Lot stores and a Do It Best Hardware store. This year, Leppink’s Food Centers has been recognized by the Michigan Grocer’s Association as 2016’s Outstanding Retailer.

Al and Judy Parker have been named grand marshals of the 14th annual Harvest Festival. They will preside over the grand parade at 1 p.m. Saturday in Howard City. — Courtesy photo

Parkers named grand marshals of Howard City Harvest Festival

Al and Judy Parker will preside over the 14th annual Howard City Harvest Festival on Saturday. They will ride in the grand parade at 1 p.m. and judge the scarecrow making contest in Ensley Park at 4:15 p.m.

Stephen Blann of accounting firm Rehmann Robson reports Monday afternoon on how Montcalm County arrived at its current financial situation and what needs to be done in coming years to balance the budget. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Montcalm County commissioners hear the latest on budget investigation

The Montcalm County Board of Commissioners heard the initial findings of three financial, legal and consulting firms Monday regarding the county’s concerning budget situation.