Local

Tri County Area Schools voters will be asked to vote on a $2.7 million five-year sinking fund proposal Tuesday. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Tri County voters asked to approve $2.7 million sinking fund

Voters in the Tri County Area Schools district will be asked to approve a $2.7 million sinking fund proposal on Tuesday. Ask any Tri County administrator why, and the words “safety” and “security” will be voiced.

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VIDEO: Montcalm County firefighters participate in ice rescue training

In spite of the 2 degree air temperature, which dropped even lower with the wind chill, Montcalm County firefighters braved the frigid weather to participate in an ice training on Sunday. Michigan Rescue Concepts (MRC) hosted the training session in Crystal Township, which included a morning classroom session and an afternoon hands-on training session on the ice of Crystal Lake. MRC is an 18-year-old Michigan-based company which have trained more than 500 fire departments in ice and water rescue training.

Here’s a look at homeless student statistics and reduced lunch statistics at Belding Area Schools and Montcalm County’s seven public school districts. — Daily News/Ryan Schlehuber

Local student opens up about homeless plight

Homelessness is a powerful word. It conjures a composite of images: A man begging for change under a bridge. A woman holding a sign by a freeway exit. A filthy, bearded man in stained pants sleeping under newspapers on a park bench. A sad-looking woman in a ratty coat pushing a shopping cart full of junk down the street.

Greenville resident Lloyd Shelden was working hard to clear his sidewalk on Monday morning.

Winter snow squall blankets area

On Monday, Punxsutawney Phil clamored out of his hole to see his shadow, thus predicting six more weeks of winter. Those who live in West Michigan already had made that same prediction after the snow-filled weekend.

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The Right Place and Montcalm Economic Alliance sign partnership

The path to create more economic growth in Montcalm County may finally have been paved on the stable ground of a partnership that aims to bring great dividends to area businesses and residents.

On Monday, The Right Place Inc. and the Montcalm Economic Alliance announced the formation of a strategic partnership to support economic growth in Montcalm County and encourage greater regional collaboration in West Michigan.

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Helping Hands going strong in Howard City, still needs more helping hands

Helping Hands is in its 24th year of operation, finishing up its first year in a new location, and the Howard City food pantry — and the demand for it — show no signs of slowing down.

The food pantry relocated a year ago from a small building in downtown Howard City to a new, 32,000-square-foot building at 1105 S. Ensley St. just south of town.

Greenville resident Burton Sly fills up his car at the Admiral gas station on W. Washington St. in Greenville. Sly was able to fill his vehicle at $1.94 a gallon, the cheapest price offered since 2009.  — Daily News/Cory Smith

Lower gas prices are expected to last through 2015

Burton Sly has a regular routine of filling the gas tank of his vehicle every Sunday afternoon to prepare for the work week, a routine that oftentimes digs too deep into his finances.

But in recent weeks, the Greenville resident has had reason to smile at the pump as gas prices nationwide have plummeted.

Additional funding in the amount of $1.2 billion for Michigan’s roads will be in the hands of voters in May as they vote on whether to increase the state sales tax from 6 to 7 percent.  — File photo

Outman, Emmons cite ‘compromise’ in reaching road funding legislation

With so many minds in Michigan focused on gasoline prices, in Lansing, legislators worked last week during the final hours of the lame duck session to draft a solution to the state’s issues with poor road quality.

After two bills were drafted, one in the House of Representatives and another in the Senate, legislators came together to create a bipartisan bill package that would provide an additional $1.2 billion annually toward road funding.

Randy Heckman is wearing a lot of hats in Howard City these days — business owner, fire chief, village manager and village president. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Randy Heckman juggling multiple village responsibilities

Imagine waking up in the early morning hours and firing up the snowplow to clear local streets, ushering in mourners for an afternoon funeral visitation, researching a possible zoning violation, presiding over an evening village council meeting and then being roused from your sleep well after midnight to rush out and fight a fire.

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JUST IN: Howard City Village Council hires new president as manager

HOWARD CITY — The Howard City Village Council unanimously voted to call off an ongoing village manager search in favor of hiring newly elected Village President Randy Heckman as interim village manager.