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Members of the Ionia Area Emergency Response Team perform a mock cell rush of a prisoner during last year’s Polar Plunge at Clifford Lake. This year’s event is outside of the Turk Lake Bar on Saturday, Feb. 8. Plunging begins at 3 p.m. All are welcome to jump in or just enjoy the show. More than 100 people have already signed up to take the plunge. — Courtesy photo

Freezing for funds: Turk Lake is new location for Polar Plunge

Jim Dennis is overwhelmed. He is surrounded by insane people. And he’s loving it. Flooded with emails, phone calls and Facebook comments, Dennis, coordinator of the annual Polar Plunge fundraiser event for Montcalm County, is once again gathering pledges from brave souls who will “take the plunge” into the cold waters of Turk Lake to raise funds for local Special Olympics athletes.

Helping Hands of Howard City

Howard City food pantry unveils new facility on Saturday

The volunteers of Helping Hands food pantry and ministry outreach in Howard City have had their sights set on moving to a more capable facility for years. After years of saving and searching, the group purchased a piece of property just south of Howard City. Last summer, construction work began on a new building.

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School band directors trying to find high note despite snow days

For Greenville High School Band Director Susan Gould, the large amount of snow days this winter — nine to date — has made her teaching routine nearly impossible as students remain home, many without instruments on which to practice.

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Teachers say flexibility is key when it comes to snow days and schedules

Montabella High School was closed Tuesday, as were all local schools, but the hallways were still filled with the voices and laughter of children — very young children, that is. Ryan Roberts, a science teacher at Montabella, brought his 5-year-old and 2-year-old children to the school so they could get out of the house and run around while Roberts caught up on classwork.

Joannah Sheldon of Winfield Township says she works on teaching her six children how to get along with each other when they are stuck at home for multiple snow days away from school. “Being confined in close quarters results in a lot of sibling fighting, but I try to remember it’s a good opportunity for character development and helping them learn how to work through their differences,” she said. Above, the Sheldon siblings play a game of charades to pass the time on a snow day Tuesday. From left to right, Abel, 5, David, 8, Marlin, 4, and Elizabeth, 11, guess what object Renee, 10, is acting out. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Winter storms have schools adjusting to multiple days off

Local schools have taken up to 10 snow days so far this winter … and they’re not out of the (snowy) woods yet. Belding, Central Montcalm, Lakeview and Montabella schools have each taken 10 snow days, while Carson City-Crystal, Greenville, Tri County and Vestaburg have each taken nine snow days. The most recent of those snow days were Monday, Tuesday and today.

At Monday’s Legislative Update meeting at Montcalm Community College, Rep. Rick Outman, R-Six Lakes, discusses a package of bills with a focus on making it easier for state prison parolees to return to the workforce. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Outman discusses ‘parolee hiring’ bills

Finding a job as an unemployed citizen can be stressful, difficult and unpleasant. Finding a job as a convicted felon can be nearly impossible.

More than two dozen people attended Monday's Montcalm County Board of Commissioners meeting, which included a public hearing about a proposed property tax increase to fund the Montcalm Alliance. — Daily News/Cory Smith

County commissioners decline to vote on Montcalm Alliance millage

Many people have voiced opinions about a proposed economic development millage, but in the end it was silence that made the decision. After a 39-minute public hearing Monday afternoon, the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners declined to vote on a property tax increase to fund the Montcalm Alliance using Michigan’s Public Act 88, which would bypass a vote of the people.

Steve DeWitt

Howard City Police Department merger OK’d; DeWitt resigns from commission

In a historic move, the Howard City Police Department will merge with the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office. And the village’s police chief will become a county sheriff’s deputy.

Ida Church, owner of Kaleidoscope of Times in Greenville, holds items of her “latest obsession,” boardwalk carnival prizes from the 1940s. Church is hoping the revamped language of a proposed Montcalm County secondhand dealers ordinance will leave local antique dealers with less restrictions — not more — for buying and selling. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Montcalm County commissioners revamping proposed secondhand ordinance

The new wording on a proposed secondhand dealers ordinance should leave local antique dealers breathing a sigh of relief. Antique dealers comprised a major portion of the audience during a Montcalm County Board of Commissioners meeting last October, during which commissioners heard overwhelming dissent against the proposed ordinance.

Local Blue Star Mother President Deann Oliver, left, and Vice President Kathy Barnes want area mothers of service men and women to know the organization is available to lend help and support wherever needed. — Daily News/Mike Taylor

Blue Star Mothers: ‘You’re not alone’

Dec. 7, 1941, a date that, according to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, would live in infamy. It also was a date that would forever change the face of America. With the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Japanese military brought the United States into a war upon which the country would eventually expend 418,500 lives, most of them young men.