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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.

The Montcalm County Board of Commissioners will hear an update about the county’s budget situation from three financial, legal and consulting firms during a special board meeting at 1 p.m. Monday at the Montcalm County Administrative Building in Stanton. — File photo

Montcalm County commissioners haven’t heard audit report since 2006

Miley Cyrus debuted in “Hannah Montana” on the Disney Channel; the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Detroit Tigers in five games in the World Series; Vice President Dick Cheney shot and wounded an attorney in a hunting accident; and Sen. Barack Obama announced he was considering a run for president of the United States.

That was 2006 … the last time until this summer that the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners actually heard a report from the county’s auditing firm.

Montcalm Area Intermediate School District (MAISD) Associate Superintendent for Business Stephanie Weese, left, answers questions about the tax levy on behalf of the MAISD from Board President Stephen Foster and Superintendent Ron Simon during Thursday morning’s meeting. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

MAISD prepares for accreditation visit

Even those who work in the field of education get graded from time to time.

In October, the Montcalm Area Intermediate School District (MAISD) will host a visit from AdvancED, an accreditation organization with headquarters in Georgia and Arizona.

Sam Johnson of Lakeview, at left, congratulates Michigan Department of Health & Human Services Director Nick Lyon at the grand opening of My Town Services of Montcalm County in Howard City on Monday. Johnson is excited to start his new cleaning job at the business at 208 Edgerton St. in downtown Howard City, which will offer a variety of health, senior citizen, veteran and employment services. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

My Town in Howard City offers variety of health and human services

Montcalm County residents have access to a variety of health and human services in Stanton, but for those who live on the outskirts of the county, the county seat isn’t always the most accessible location.

As of Monday, those who live in the Panhandle (the northwest section of Montcalm County) will be able to enjoy many health and human services in downtown Howard City.

A center lane will be added to Shaw Street in Howard City to accommodate the ever-increasing amount of vehicles waiting to turn into business driveways, such as Leppink's Food Center. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Howard City readies for $1 million Shaw Street project

Businesses on this village’s busiest stretch will remain open throughout a $1 million road project set to begin after Labor Day and be completed by next Memorial Day. The Howard City Village Council in July approved a $1,036,389 bid from CL Trucking & Excavating of Ionia to work on Shaw Street 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.

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Montcalm County brings on law firm as deficit looms

How long does it take to lose $9 million in savings? Montcalm County officials did it in just four years.