loc 1022 The Right Place-5

Montcalm County hears economic development update

In describing greater Grand Rapids, Birgit Klohs was forthright in her approach of the area from an economic standpoint.

“Nobody wonders were Grand Rapids is,” said Klohs, the president and CEO of The Right Place. “They know New York, they know Las Vegas, they know Chicago, they know L.A., but the middle of the country is often called flyover territory.”


Some Montcalm County commissioners decline to file expense reports

The Montcalm County Board of Commissioners recently voted to give themselves a pay cut, but some commissioners have been quietly declining to turn in their expense reports for years.

Commissioners voted in September to give themselves a 15 percent salary cut, which will save $14,990, as part of $1.5 million in overall county budget cuts. Commissioners each earn an annual salary of about $9,600.


Agencies fill the gap left by 2-1-1 in Ionia and Montcalm counties

Within the last year, Montcalm and Ionia counties lost its 2-1-1 service, which provided health and human resources to those in need.

The Montcalm Human Service Coalition unanimously decided to cancel 2-1-1 in Montcalm and Ionia counties in December 2015, effective in January 2016.

A former gas station located at 15350 W. Howard City-Edmore Road (M-46) sits on two long neglected acres in Winfield Township, better known as Amble. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is currently working to fix contamination from leaks out of underground tanks at the property. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Michigan DEQ cleans up former Amble gas station contamination

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is working to fix contamination from leaking storage tanks underground at a former gas station.

The property at 15350 W. Howard City-Edmore Road (M-46) sits on two long neglected acres in Winfield Township, better known as Amble.

Work on Howard City’s Shaw Street began after Labor Day and will continue through early November. The project will then go on hold until April, when it will be completed. Businesses on Shaw Street remain open to customers. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Shaw Street project on schedule in Howard City

Other than a few literal bumps in the road, a construction project in Howard City is going smoothly and ahead of schedule.

CL Trucking & Excavating of Ionia began working on Shaw Street just after Labor Day. The project extends from the village’s traffic light at Federal Road (old 131) west on Shaw to the village limits, which are located just short of the U.S. 131 expressway north and south ramps.

Animal Control Director Angela Hollinshead updated Montcalm County commissioners on her department’s status on Monday after Animal Control received a 33 percent budget cut. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Animal Control deals with budget cuts by reducing hours, staff

Reduced hours, reduced staff, reduced services.

Montcalm County Animal Control is running as such after a 33 percent budget cut by the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners.

IM Fostering Hope collects items and puts together backpacks for children transitioning in the foster care system in Montcalm and Ionia counties. — Courtesy photo

IM Fostering Hope aims to help foster families

Last year, more than 160 children in Montcalm and Ionia counties entered the foster care system, and IM Fostering Hope is hoping to make the transition easier for those children.

The group has put together backpacks with hygiene items, pajamas, comfort items, blankets, socks and underwear. The goal is to make the first night of transition easier on the children and the foster families.

loc 1004 ew TC backpacks 3

Howard City school receives 82 backpacks from AT&T Pioneers

Kindergarten students through second-graders at MacNaughton Elementary School now have access to 82 new backpacks full of school supplies, thanks to a donation from AT&T Pioneers. The backpacks — in colors of pink, black, light blue and dark blue — were distributed to the Howard City school on Monday morning. Each backpack contains an assortment of notebooks, colored pencils, crayons, glue sticks, scissors and a pencil box.

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.


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.