Local

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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.

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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.

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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).